06/21/2001 11:00PM

River Downs: Winless a long time


The last time Alce Candense visited the winner's circle was a year ago when he rallied to win the Sydney Gendelman Memorial at River Downs. Nine frustrating losses later, Alce Canadense returns to River Downs in the hopes of ending his losing streak, and defending his title in the Gendelman Memorial at the same time.

The Gendelman, a $50,000 handicap for Ohio-bred 3-year-olds and upward, is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Fair skies are forecasted for the Cincinnati area, which is good news for local race fans who have seen two stakes, and numerous overnight races, taken off the turf due to inclement weather this spring.

Since his win in last year's Gendelman, Alce Canadense has placed in several allowances and high-priced claimers, from Fair Grounds to Keeneland, often finishing within a length or two of the winner. In his most recent start May 10, Alce Canadense finished fourth in a three-other-than allowance at Churchill. The 120-pound highweight in the Gendelman, Alce Canadense will be ridden by River Downs's leading rider, Rodney Prescott.

Potential upsetters include Fax a Freddy, Huw, and Mr. Bigglesworth. Primarily a dirt runner, Fax a Freddy is a perfect 2 for 2 on turf and was a contending third in the Best of Ohio Endurance at Thistledown last October. He was most recently third in an off-the-turf allowance at River Downs last month.

The 9-year-old Huw, who won this race in 1997 when it was known as the Rainbow Handicap, finished fifth in last year's Gendelman. He comes in off a six-length defeat to graded stakes winner Aly's Alley in a Churchill allowance.

Mr. Bigglesworth, a dual stakes winner on the River Downs turf last year, has looked dull in recent months, but can not be dismissed entirely considering his affinity for the surface.