08/16/2001 11:00PM

River Downs: Vivacious Handicap

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A full field of 12 Ohio-bred fillies and mares, including last year's winner, Cabot Cove, will compete in the $50,000 Vivacious Handicap at River Downs. The Vivacious, the last turf stakes of the meet, will be run at

1 1/16 miles.

The top three finishers from the Aug. 5 Ms. Southern Ohio Stakes should receive most of the betting support. Doubly Fun wore down the front-running Shamrock Slew two weeks ago, the second consecutive year in which Shamrock Slew lost the Ms. Southern Ohio in the final furlong.

Doubly Fun's win was her second in three starts over the River Downs turf and she could start as the slight favorite. Shamrock's Slew narrow losses in that race have been her only two starts on turf. She will be formidable if she can get a clear lead.

Cabot Cove won the 2000 Vivacious after running third in the Ms. Southern Ohio. Cabot Cove finished third again this year, though her chances of a better finish may have been compromised when she was forced to steady late in the race.

Other possibilities include Lady Cherie and Prizes. Lady Cherie, one of the top Ohio-bred 3-year-olds last year, is a stakes winner on turf but finished a distant fourth in the Ms. Southern Ohio. Prizes has started only once on turf, in a $100,000 optional claimer at Gulfstream, but wasn't disgraced.