06/02/2005 11:00PM

Sprint a bettor's delight


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Now this is the Churchill Downs that horseplayers have come to know and love.

Contrary to the somewhat humdrum racing that has taken place here in recent weeks, the sixth race on Sunday typifies what long has made Churchill a favorite among locals and simulcast players. A full field has been entered in the six-furlong race, a $52,000 second-level allowance that promises to attract a wagering battle as spirited as what may ensue on the racetrack.

No fewer than six or seven of the 12 main-body horses in the sixth of 10 Sunday races seem to rate an excellent chance. Terrific recent efforts were turned in by Ominous, Capability, Cowboy Hardware, and Cap'n Capote, making them all logical plays, but if Tricky Devil can revert to the form that took him to back-to-back eye-popping victories on this circuit last fall, then he could be the one to beat for trainer Al Stall Jr.

Stevens hardly at home track

Although Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens said he planned to ride primarily at Churchill following the May 7 Kentucky Derby, his schedule hasn't exactly worked out that way. Mostly because his main client, trainer Patrick Biancone, has had him riding at Belmont Park in New York, Stevens has ridden sporadically here in recent weeks.

Stevens missed this entire last week at Churchill and is riding in California this weekend. His agent, Craig O'Bryan, said Stevens will be here to ride Wednesday but then will be back at Belmont from Thursday through Saturday, ending with Stevens riding Chekhov for Biancone in the Belmont Stakes.

"After the Belmont, we're pretty much going to be here through the end of the meet [July 10]," said O'Bryan. "Our schedule has been hectic, but it's been good. We've had a lot of business."

Stevens, who has 14 wins from 55 starters at this meet, already has three top mounts lined up for June 18, Stephen Foster Day: Perfect Drift in the Stephen Foster, Don't Get Mad in the Northern Dancer, and Rich in Spirit in the Regret.

Runway Model iffy for Dogwood

Trainer Bernie Flint said he is undecided about whether to run Runway Model next Saturday in the $150,000 Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race in which Kentucky Oaks winner Summerly is expected to be a heavy favorite.

"We're kind of in limbo right now," said Flint. "We'll see how this weather holds up and if we can get a breeze in her. I don't know. We're just taking it easy. She's already run four times this year."

Runway Model was one of the top 2-year-old fillies of 2004 but has gone winless in four starts at 3. Her most recent race resulted in a fourth-place finish behind Spun Sugar in the May 20 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.

One loss later, Woodard wins again

As a footnote to the highly publicized Joe Woodard win streak, the trainer sent out yet another winner since the streak ended at 10 on Thursday when Access Approved captured the first race Friday at Churchill. Access Approved ($3.60), ridden by Angela Owens, gave Woodard a remarkable 11 wins from his last 12 starters at Churchill.

Woodard had his track-record streak snapped when Peace and Joy was beaten by a nose in the sixth race Thursday.

- My Trusty Cat, upset winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on the Derby undercard, topped the Friday work tab at Churchill when she went five furlongs in 1:00.60 over a sloppy track. Trainer David Vance said My Trusty Cat will probably make her next start in the Chicago Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park on June 18.