05/26/2005 11:00PM

Stakes-class crew in feature


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - No one could have blamed horsemen for being unable to resist the allure of the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap 24 hours later, but several did just that, making for a nice feature race Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Apparently figuring the $68,200 purse was close enough to the $100,000-added that will be up for grabs here Monday in the Louisville, the trainers of stakes-proven turf horses such as G P Fleet, Senor Swinger, Gretchen's Star, and Freefourinternet all opted for the Sunday feature, a classified allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

, fifth in the recent Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, is the logical favorite in a field of seven turf veterans. Trained by Steve Flint, G P Fleet has won 5 of his last 9 starts and is particularly effective on the Churchill grass, having posted 3 wins and 2 seconds from 6 local starts. Rafael Bejarano has the mount.

also has a longstanding fondness for the Churchill grass. Trained by Bob Baffert, Senor Swinger won his first four races over the course before losing his last two, the most recent being an eighth-place finish in the Woodford, in which he started off a 6 1/2-month layoff.

, one of those rare 10-year-olds still competitive at this lofty level, is still showing the consistency and gameness to be a danger with this kind. Gretchen's Star enters off a sharp runner-up finish behind Del Mar Show on opening day of the spring meet.

, winner of the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap at Belmont in 2003, has not been in great form lately, but the move back to grass could awaken him, and it must be noted that Pat Day has accepted the mount. Moreover, Freefourinternet is the lone millionaire in the field.

The rest of the lineup is Mighty Military, B.A. Way, and Gin and Sin.

The featured ninth of 10 races is just one of five allowances on an excellent Sunday card. The others go as the fourth, seventh, eighth, and 10th.

The fourth, a $68,200 route for older horses, drew several notable names, including Colonial Colony, winner of the 2004 Stephen Foster Handicap, and Pro Prado, who has kept heady company his entire 15-race career.

Because racing will be held here Monday, there will no racing Wednesday to make up for the missed dark day. The weekly handicapping contest will be held Thursday.