06/16/2008 11:00PM

Sunshine Kid gets rematch


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The third quarter of the 52-day Churchill Downs spring meet ends Thursday. Some people might say that so many meaningful events have already taken place - the Kentucky Derby and Oaks, Stephen Foster Saturday, the suspension of major account-deposit wagering services due to the rift between management and horsemen - that the balance of the meet is rendered largely irrelevant.

In racing, however, beauty is in the eye of the bettor. Nine golden opportunities for financial relevancy will be presented Thursday at Churchill, when back-to-back allowance races will serve as featured events.

The seventh, a $45,200 turf route with a second-level allowance condition, drew six older horses, including a pair who ran one-two in a similar race April 19 at Keeneland. Biggerbadderbetter won that race by four lengths over Sunshine Kid, and they appear to be the principals in their Thursday rematch.

Biggerbadderbetter, trained by Ken McPeek, has raced once since April 19, finishing a decent sixth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap on May 24 over the Churchill turf. In his Keeneland win, the 4-year-old colt made an early move to wrest control to the wire, prevailing at nearly 8-1 under Robby Albarado, who gets the mount back Thursday.

Sunshine Kid, trained by Bill Mott, has not raced since settling for the runner-up spot behind Biggerbadderbetter as the 6-5 favorite at Keeneland. A 4-year-old colt by Lemon Drop Kid, Sunshine Kid compiled respectable form earlier in his career when racing overseas and also has done okay in his three starts in the United States.

Canela, a former claimer with 13 career wins, looks like the main threat to the favored twosome.

In the eighth race, a $43,100 entry-level allowance at seven furlongs, the majority of fans will settle on a Steve Asmussen runner - but which one? Chief Gone West and Sonoma Cat, uncoupled for wagering purposes, both appear fully capable of going through this condition among a field of eight 3-year-olds and upward.

Chief Gone West suddenly came alive in his last start when winning a conditioned claimer and thus earned a return to the allowance ranks.

Sonoma Cat, who has served as an occasional workmate for Curlin, the Asmussen-trained superstar, returns as the beaten favorite from an allowance route that directly followed the Kentucky Derby on May 3.