05/09/2006 12:00AM

Regret rematch in allowance


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - When Rich in Spirit and Cape Hope clashed as the favorites among a deep field of 3-year-old turf fillies last June in the Grade 3 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs, it would have been risky to predict that both would go winless for nearly 11 months afterward.

Nonetheless, has failed to win in three subsequent starts since emerging victorious in the Regret under the since-retired Gary Stevens. Cape Hope, fifth that afternoon when ridden by the since-retired Jerry Bailey, also has failed to win in three subsequent races.

One of those modest losing streaks probably will come to an end Thursday, when the 4-year-old fillies meet in the feature race at Churchill, a fourth-level turf allowance at 1 1/16 miles. In all, six were entered in the $66,000 feature, which is carded as the eighth of nine races on a program that begins at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

Rich in Spirit, a Glen Hill Farm homebred trained by Tom Proctor, probably will be favored, considering how good she looked in a second-place finish in her April 15 seasonal debut. Making her first start in nearly eight months, Rich in Spirit rallied from well behind to miss by a half-length in that classified allowance at Keeneland.

also made her last start at Keeneland, which came following a sharp runner-up finish three weeks beforehand in the Fairway Fun Stakes, her 4-year-old debut. Cape Hope finished sixth and last in that April 23 Keeneland race and will attempt to rebound Thursday for trainer Dallas Stewart and jockey Mark Guidry, the same team that upset the Kentucky Oaks last Friday with Lemons Forever.

The other eighth-race starters are , who makes her 2006 debut after winning 4 of 5 starts to end 2005; Cat Quatorze, a speedy Louis Quatorze filly trained by Helen Pitts; Ella Belle, a two-back winner of the Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park; and the probable outsider, Kaylan's Rose, seeking her first win in nearly 10 months.

Two races earlier Thursday, Yate's Black Cat should rule as a strong favorite in a maiden turf route, his first start since finishing second to Up an Octave in the April 20 Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland. Yate's Black Cat, with Rene Douglas taking a return call from trainer Dale Romans, already has finished first twice, only to be disqualified both times.