08/08/2003 12:00AM

River Downs: Count on My Word


Two weeks after a gutsy allowance win in his seasonal debut, Count on My Word seeks his first career stakes victory in the $40,000 Buckeye Native Stakes at River Downs.

The Buckeye Native, for Ohio-sired and -bred 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Inactivity was the primary reason why Count on My Word was dismissed at 9-1 when he ran in a nonwinners-of-four allowance for Ohio-breds at Thistledown on July 28. Count on My Word, who had not run since winning an allowance at Beulah in November, broke on top, then lost the lead momentarily in deep stretch before re-rallying to win by a length.

The win was the second straight for Count on My Word, who finished second in the Horizon Stakes over the River Downs turf last summer and a close fourth in the 2002 Buckeye Native.

A homebred owned by Touch of Heaven Farm, Count on My Word will be ridden by Huber Villa-Gomez.

Brother Darcy has displayed positive form against allowance foes this season, finishing first or second in four of five starts. He ran an uncharacteristically poor race, however, in the Sydney Gendelman Memorial, his only stakes attempt this year. Brother Darcy, the runner-up 17 times in his 63-race career, finished second in his only other attempt on the turf.

Nate's Rib, third behind Count on My Word in the 2002 Horizon, and the 2003 Horizon runner-up, Mercer's Cool Cat, are the only other contenders with some semblance of positive grass form in stakes company.

Wirebender and Heat Seeker have both performed ably in stakes company in the past, but neither has a strong turf pedigree, and their front-running styles seem better suited to shorter distances.