05/03/2005 12:00AM

Runway Model lands post 1 in Oaks

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Runway Model, exercising last week, will have Patrick Valenzuela aboard for Friday's Kentucky Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer Bernie Flint hadn't attended a post position draw for any of his horses in two years but said he was in the Churchill Downs racing office Wednesday morning when they pulled the pills for Friday's Grade 1 "to bring a little luck."

Whether it was Flint's presence that made the difference or not, his 3-year-old filly Runway Model was fortunate enough to draw post 1 in a field that surprisingly swelled to nine horses for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks. Runway Model is expected to go off the second betting choice behind odds-on favorite Sis City, who will break from post 4.

"Number one is ideal," said Flint, who trains Runway Model for owner Naveed Chowhan. "I was also really happy to see nine horses entered. That really made my day. I was praying for a large field. No more six-horse fields. The problem with small fields is you don't have a true pace, like the last time we ran against Sis City, and my filly is schooled to come from behind."

Runway Model finished second, 10 1/2 lengths behind the pacesetting Sis City, in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland on April 9. But Flint says he will instruct jockey Patrick Velenzuela to keep Runway Model closer to the pace if need be in the Oaks and put a little more speed into his filly when she worked three furlongs in 35.20 seconds on Wednesday. Runway Model needed the outrider to pull her up after she ran off once she crossed the finish line after completing the drill.

"She jogged a mile first and we just wanted to give her a blow and she ran off although we never asked her," said Flint. "She's been working black letters right along. There seems to be some speed in the race to keep Sis City honest. She's not going to get loose this time because we're going to be right up behind her."

Sis City has led throughout to win each of her last three starts, including both the Ashland and Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Davona Dale by 16 lengths in her 2005 debut. Unlike Flint, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. was not on hand for the draw but said he was more than satisfied with Sis City's post position for the Oaks.

"I can't see the post getting us beat," said Dutrow. "My biggest concern is what my biggest concern is always, which is the start of the race. If she breaks the way she has been I won't have any concerns."

Edgar Prado again takes the call on Sis City.

Aspen Tree, to be ridden by Javier Castellano, was a surprise entrant in the Oaks because she's also entered in Thursday's La Troienne Stakes. The remainder of the field consists of Dance Away Capote (John Velazquez), In the Gold (Rafael Bejerano), Summerly (Jerry Bailey), Rugula (Greta Kuntzweiler), Memorette (Kent Desormeaux), and Gallant Secret (Mike Smith).

The Oaks is one of six stakes on Friday's 11-race program which begins at 11 a.m. Eastern.

Heading the undercard is the Grade 2, $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup, which drew a field of nine fillies and mares led by 117-pound highweight Star Parade and Island Sand. The complexion of the Louisville BC changed dramatically earlier this week, when reigning Eclipse Award champion Ashado was taken out of consideration for the race.

Limehouse will likely be favored over seven rivals in the $100,000 Alysheba Stakes at 1 1/16 miles while his stablemate from trainer Todd Pletcher's potent stable, Dubleo, tops a field of nine 3-year-olds entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Crown Royal American on the grass.

Cape Hope returns to the grass and is the one to beat in the $100,000 Edgewood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

A full field of sprint specialists, topped by highweight Wrzeszcz and the consistent Mighty Beau, was drawn for the five-furlong, Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint Stakes.

- additional reporting by David Grening

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