11/26/2005 1:00AM

Stevens troubled second in final career ride


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Gary Stevens is probably thankful that not all of his mounts were that eventful.

In the last start of his Hall of Fame career, Stevens finished second aboard heavily favored Louve Royale in the 12th and final race Saturday at Churchill Downs. Louve Royale trailed early in a full field of 12, then encountered some traffic trouble before getting clear down the stretch and finishing with great energy. She finished a length short of catching the winner, Moonshine Gal, a 16-1 shot ridden by Jesus Castanon.

Stevens was scheduled to have two mounts Saturday, but Sabatini scratched from the Golden Rod Stakes.

Stevens's last ride was somewhat reminiscent of the one that legendary Bill Shoemaker had to finish his career in 1990 at Santa Anita. Shoemaker also was aboard a heavy favorite but finished third.

Stevens announced his retirement last week after 27 years of riding. He finishes with 5,005 wins, including three in the Kentucky Derby.

Guidry ties Bejarano on closing day

A dramatic finish to the Churchill jockeys' race resulted in Rafael Bejarano and Mark Guidry sharing the riding title with 26 wins each.

Bejarano entered the day with a two-win lead, but Guidry won four races to his two, yielding the first dead heat in a Churchill jockeys' race since Pat Day and Fabio Arguello Jr. each rode 83 winners at the 1992 spring meet. It was the first fall-meet tie since 1970.

Meanwhile, trainer Dale Romans clinched the training title early on the Saturday card, while his main clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, wrapped up the owners' title earlier in the week. Romans, with 16 wins, won or tied for a Churchill title for the seventh time, while the Ramseys, with 7 wins, won their 10th Churchill title.

Five winners good enough in pick six

There were no perfect tickets in a mandatory pick six payout Saturday. Tickets with 5 of 6 winners returned $4,558 for each $2 bet. The winning numbers were 4-11-3-10-3-14. The day began with an $83,355 carryover.

* Westerly Gale, the first starter saddled by newly licensed trainer Ian Wilkes, finished fourth behind Moonshine Gal and Louve Royale in the last race. Wilkes, the longtime assistant to trainer Carl Nafzger, will take over the entire Nafzger stable Jan. 1.

* Honor in War ($5.80), racing back in six days after a troubled trip in the River City Handicap, drew off to win a $68,300 turf allowance for his ninth career victory.

* Trainer Greg Foley ended the meet on a good note when sending out the one-two finishers, Reigning Court ($19) and Go Bucky Go, in a full field of 2-year-old maiden special-weight sprinters.

* Three Steps Ahead ($6.60), ridden by Julien Leparoux, held off Classic Par for a victory in the Saturday opener, the third and final leg in the Trail's End starter-allowance series at 1 1/4 miles.