07/14/2005 11:00PM

River Downs: Hoover jam-packed

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Bettors who like playing stakes races, especially those with full, wide-open fields, will thoroughly enjoy the $40,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs.

No fewer than 15 Ohio-bred 2-year-olds were entered for the 5 1/2-furlong Hoover, with 14 allowed to start. Among the 15 are three fillies, including Fight Girl, who might start as the favorite.

Purely from a Beyer Speed Figure perspective, Fight Girl is the one to beat. Following losses against fillies at Churchill and Mountaineer, Fight Girl stayed home at River for her next start, and she walloped maiden colts by 11 lengths. Her winning Beyer Figure of 74 is easily the highest earned by any Hoover entrant.

Other maiden winners expected to attract play include Look at This Cat and Count It Up, who both graduated in the open maiden ranks. Statebred maiden winners M and Em and Slewbiscuit, plus the maiden Acts Like a King, are all plausible alternatives and potential inclusions in exotics.

Distress Signal, a winner of a $30,000 maiden claimer at Churchill in his debut, seeks to become a second-generation winner of the Hoover. His sire, St l'Enjoleur, won the race in 1998.

On the outside looking in is the first-time starter Too Much Bling, who, because he has no earnings, would be excluded from the Hoover should the other 14 horses start. Despite his lack of experience, he should not be overlooked based on his three bullet workouts at Thistledown.