07/14/2005 11:00PM

Super pays $10,000 for a dime

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It seems a dime can still buy more than a gumball. On Wednesday, opening day at Ellis Park, two winning 10-cent superfecta tickets in race 6 hit for $10,848.28.

The extraordinary payoff was made possible by a parade of longshots finishing first through fourth. Tawney Port won the sixth race, a $5,000 nonwinners-of-two claimer at odds of 20-1, and was followed by Shiloh Dawn at 28-1, Rubiano's Revenue at 22-1, and The E at 11-1.

This improbable result allowed two winning bettors to take the entire $27,816 pool based on wagers made in dime increments. According to the track, one ticket was sold out of a wagering hub in Maine and another was placed at Turfway Park. Jeff Hall, director of mutuels for Ellis Park, said he did not know how much each bettor wagered in combinations.

Dime superfecta wagering, offered for the first time this year at Ellis Park, sharply lowers the cost of the wager. For example, a six-horse box in the superfecta costs $360 at a track with a $1 minimum bet. The ticket costs $36 at Ellis and at other tracks that offer a dime superfecta.

Typically, payoffs are lower by approximately the same ratio. Wednesday's sixth race proved a rare exception due to the pair of winning tickets taking the whole pool.

Flint in with two high-priced claimers

Trainer Bernie Flint has made the racing game appear easy in recent years by claiming high-priced older horses at Churchill Downs and successfully converting them into stakes horses at smaller tracks.

The "Flint formula" could pay off again Sunday in the eighth race at Ellis Park, a $35,000 overnight handicap at 1 1/8 miles on dirt. Flint has an entry of stakes winners in the race, Ask the Lord and Discreet Hero, horses that his LTB Inc. racing stable owns in partnership with Richard Williams.

Ask the Lord, a $62,500 claim in October 2003, has made $327,245 in 24 starts for Flint; Discreet Hero, taken for $40,000 in July 2004, has earned $261,966 in 15 races for him.

Of the two, Discreet Hero appears the more likely winner despite coming off a last-place finish in the Dr. Fager Handicap at Arlington on July 9. He was burned up on the lead by a furious pace in that race, but catches less speed here.

Prior to his loss in the Dr. Fager, he won a pair of races at Mountaineer Park, both times earning triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures.

Ask the Lord has not shown the same effectiveness this year, although he is a two-time winner in 2005. Jesus Castanon has been named aboard both halves of the entry.

Other starters include Azucar, Proper Prado, Jamian, and Bound for Fame.

Strangles tests come back negative

Results of a second round of testing of horses in trainer Ron Moquett's quarantined barn at Ellis Park have all come back negative for the equine bacterial disease strangles, said Doug Bredar, Ellis Park's racing secretary. Strangles is a bacterial infection that causes fever, nasal discharge, and swelling in the throat.

Under the protocol established by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, each horse in the quarantined barn must test negative for strangles in three consecutive tests before being allowed to return to the general horse population. Bredar speculated that the final test could come next week.

Moquett's Ellis Park barn was quarantined earlier this month following a confirmed case of the disease in a 4-year-old filly he had based there. Moquett's starters this meet at Ellis Park have come from his Churchill Downs stable, which is unaffected by the quarantine, Bredar said.

Weather can't keep fans away

Inclement weather and wet track conditions kept some horses away from the races this week, but not the fans. Ellis reported an attendance of 4,604 on Wednesday, the highest opening-day total since Churchill Downs Inc. took over the property in 1999.

Turf racing was canceled for the third straight day Friday, resulting in those races being moved to the main track. The inability to race on turf contributed to numerous scratches on all three cards.