07/16/2009 12:00AM

Slides Choice toughest in Norm Barron Queen City Oaks

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CINCINNATI - Slides Choice will be the odds-on favorite to win the $100,000 Norm Barron Queen City Oaks at River Downs on Saturday and should not disappoint. A compact field of seven Ohio-bred 3-year-old fillies will contest the 1 1/8-mile event.

Trained by Tim Hamm, Slides Choice was the champion Ohio-bred 2-year-old filly in 2008. She has not disappointed this year, winning her first three outings of the year, including the Royal North at Beulah and the Tomboy locally. Two outings ago, Slides Choice, a Devil His Due filly, ran fourth in the Grade 3 Dogwood at Churchill Downs on May 30. Hamm expects a big effort from his filly on Saturday.

"We wanted to put blinkers on her for quite a while, but she kept winning and so we couldn't," Hamm said. "We took her to Churchill to see what we had. We figured one of two things could happen. Either she would win, or if not, at least we would be able to put blinkers on her. She ran a big race, and the jockey came back after the race and unprompted said, 'You should put blinkers on her, it will move her up five or six lengths.' "

In her last out June 20 at Thistledown in the JW Petro Memorial, Hamm added blinkers to Slides Choice as she faced older fillies and mares, including Ohio's 2008 champion handicap mare, Pay the Man.

"She ran a great race, she was boxed in early, and then the rider swung her very wide at the half-mile pole and she lost a ton of ground and it cost her," Hamm said.

Slides Choice ran third to Pay the Man, beaten only 1 3/4 lengths. Hamm is confident this is a great spot for his filly.

"She is just doing super," he said. "I don't think the distance will be an issue - she is very rateable and reliable. . . . I expect her to run her best race yet."

Hector Rosario Jr. will ride for the first time.

Honey Be Fleet has won both of her two lifetime starts locally but has yet to go two turns. She has led from gate to wire in both starts and looks to be the pacesetter. Rodney Prescott will ride for trainer Doug Cowans.