11/14/2005 1:00AM

Resurgent Bowman runs 'Victory'


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Carl Bowman long has been known as the strong-but-silent type, but in recent years, the veteran trainer has been rather quiet in the wrong category: races won.

But silence was supplanted by strength Saturday when Bowman sent out a pair of long-priced winners at his home track, Churchill Downs. Red Cherries Spin, a first-time starter, led all the way to easily win the third race at a $38.80 mutuel, and Forth and Forever was up in a long drive to narrowly win the sixth race at $29.40.

Longshots have seldom been part of the Bowman repertoire, mostly because of Bowman's conservatism and his insistence on winning at an above-average percentage. Bowman, a licensed trainer for more than 30 years, enjoyed career highs in 1992 (with 44 wins from 146 starts) and 2000 (with $1,357,955 in stable earnings), but in the last four years he has been less active and productive, averaging only 14 wins and less than $400,000 in earnings.

Still, his Saturday coups clearly demonstrate that Bowman is alive and well and fully capable of a big strike, and that lesson could be quite instructive when the featured ninth race rolls around Wednesday at Churchill.

Bowman will be giving a leg up on Appoint Victory to the meet's leading rider, Rafael Bejarano, in a $49,400, entry-level allowance, and it would come as little surprise if Bowman had his photograph snapped in the winner's circle yet again.

is owned by Yoshio Fujita, who owned Lu Ravi, a millionaire filly with whom Bowman won the 2000 Delaware Handicap and other graded races. Although only 1 for 11 in his career, Appoint Victory looks like a deserving favorite in the Wednesday feature, partly because of his consistency but also because the competition for the level appears rather subpar.

Eight horses were entered in the 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up. Besides Appoint Victory, the other contenders include , an intriguing-looking Irish import who will be getting first-time Lasix when making his stateside debut for trainer Ronny Werner; and Burrowing Owl, who adds blinkers for trainer Tony Reinstedler. The others are Plunkit, Spinfire, Never Skip, and Winsomemoneyhoney.

* The third and final opportunity to qualify for the Churchill handicapping finals is Wednesday.