07/17/2003 12:00AM

Thistledown: No betting on feature

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NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - When only four Ohio-bred fillies and mares were entered for the Rose DeBartolo Memorial Stakes, the race was scheduled as a non-wagering exhibition that will be run at 12:30 p.m. Eastern, prior to the first race at Thistledown. The purse of the DeBartolo was also cut from $75,000 to $35,000 with all of the funds coming from the Ohio Thoroughbred Fund.

Ashwood C C, owned by Ashwood Thoroughbreds Inc., would have been a heavy favorite in this race and will be going for her third stakes win of the year. Ashwood C C, last year's Ohio champion handicap mare, shipped to Mountaineer Park and won the one-mile Firecracker Handicap on the Fourth of July in her most recent start. Before that, she was second behind Lac Ouiloose here in the 1 1/16-mile Merry Time.

Lac Ouiloose is again the main danger in this 1 1/8-mile race. She received seven pounds from Ashwood C C in their last meeting, however, and in this race all of the starters will carry 122 pounds.

Ashwood C C's front-running style should enable her to make an easy lead. In four career starts at the distance of this race, she has won four stakes. Luis Gonzalez will ride for trainer Rodrigo Madrigal Sr.

Lac Ouiloose gained her first stakes win in the Merry Times. Last year she finished fourth in this race to Ashwood C C. Trainer Donn Rowe brought her out in midseason form to win the Merry Times after a seven-month layoff, indicating that she may be much improved. Jeffrey Skerrett has the mount.

Crypto's Twinjet and Come Hither complete the field.