08/23/2005 11:00PM

Thistledown track reports


Lillians Choice heads a field of 10 2-year-old Ohio-bred fillies in Friday's $40,000 Miss Ohio Stakes at six furlongs.

Trained by Bret Calhoun for owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, Lillians Choice is undefeated in two lifetime starts and returns off a 2 1/2-length hand-ridden victory in the $40,000 Tah Dah stakes at River Downs on July 31. She won a maiden race at Lone Star on July 4 after battling for the lead for three furlongs, giving up some ground, and then coming on again late to prove best by a half-length. Cliff Berry will be in to ride at high weight of 119 pounds.

Fight Girl finished second to Lillians Choice in the Tah Dah Stakes and is the most experienced runner in the field, with five lifetime starts, two of those against stakes company. On July 17 she finished a well-beaten fourth after bumping with a rival on the turn in the $40,000 Hoover Stakes at River Downs. Before that she won an open maiden race, defeating males on July 7 at River Downs. Lori Wydick will ride for trainer William Napier at 116 pounds.

Of the others, Tommeyesgold, who finished third in the Tah Dah, and Moniker, who ships in from Philadelphia Park, could be tough to handle.

* At an age when many riders are thinking about retirement, 39-year-old apprentice Joyce Brown captured her first victory in Sunday's 11th race at Thistledown. The win came aboard Landana for trainer Delbert Franklin.

Brown, a native of Cleveland, rode her first race on Aug. 5 here but is no newcomer to racing, having been an owner, trainer, and exercise rider for more than 20 years. To begin a riding career at this stage in her life is reflective of Brown's great commitment and unsurpassed passion for the sport.

"It's taken a long time to get this far," said Brown. "It felt great to win, it was very overwhelming."

* Veteran jockey Scott Spieth holds the top spot in the rider standings at the Randall meeting, which ends Oct. 2. Spieth has 24 wins from 91 starts and must hold off Luis Gonzalez, who has 18 victories from 100 mounts, to win the title. Trainer Rodney Faulkner is on top of the trainer standings with 15 wins from 73 starts. Faulkner also is the leading owner. Spieth and Faulkner were the winners at the recently concluded Thistledown meet.

* Ben's Reflection, one of the best older sprinters in Ohio, won last Friday's featured King Glorious handicap, getting the six furlongs in 1:10, the fastest time for the distance here this year.