05/12/2005 12:00AM

Razor follows successful pattern


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It has become an accepted handicapping standard that if a horse runs poorly at Keeneland, you are more than welcome to forgive that bad race when the horse makes his next start at Churchill Downs.

And no one is happier about it than Steve Asmussen.

Last weekend, Asmussen watched in delight when he sent out Summerly to win the 131st Kentucky Oaks after the filly had been drubbed by 19 lengths in her previous start, the Ashland Stakes. The lesson from the Oaks may or may not apply Saturday, when Asmussen sends out Razor in the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill, but Asmussen sure wouldn't mind seeing something similar unfold.

, one of nine 3-year-olds entered in the six-furlong Matt Winn, was beaten 15 lengths when he finished third as the odds-on favorite in his last start, the April 10 Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland.

"The only other race he ran at Keeneland, he also got beat, and then he came back and ran huge at Churchill," said Asmussen, referring to the first two starts of Razor's career last fall. "I'm not saying Summerly has a thing to do with what may happen Saturday. But all you have to do is see what happens with some horses - like what happened last fall with Razor - and you can come into this race Saturday hoping for a better performance than what you got up the road."

Before the Lafayette, Razor finished second to Afleet Alex in the Mountain Valley at Oaklawn Park. With Mike Smith to ride, Razor will start from post 4 in the Matt Winn. Asmussen won the Winn two years ago with Posse and saddled the second-place finisher, Cuvee, last year.

Among the other major contenders in the Winn are (post 7), runner-up in the Lafayette.

The rest of the field is Eyeforglory, Cherokee Path, Semaphore Man, Social Probation, Sir Laff Alot, and Departing Now.

* Earlier Saturday, A.P. Arrow, once considered for the Preakness, will be heavily favored when he faces seven other 3-year-old maidens in the fifth race at 1 1/4 miles.