06/23/2006 12:00AM

Three from Texas Glitter face off again


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sunday's fifth race at Churchill Downs looks a great deal like the June 3 Texas Glitter overnight handicap - minus the top two finishers, Yucatan and Atticus Kristy. - the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place finishers from the Texas Glitter, respectively - are entered in the fifth race, an optional claiming race with a purse of $62,000 going five furlongs on turf.

Little separates the stakes-dropping trio. In running third in the Texas Glitter, Mighty Beau narrowly outperformed his rivals, finishing a nose in front of Justice for Auston at the wire with The Nth Degree another half-length behind.

Mighty Beau's performance in that race, as well as his lifetime achievements, will likely result in him starting as the favorite. A 7-year-old gelding, he has won 9 of 46 starts and more than $543,000.

A son of Rainbow Prospect now trained by Dale Romans, Mighty Beau was at his best last spring when he won the Grade 3 Aegon Turf Sprint over the Churchill Downs course. He has gone winless in nine races since, including a couple of failed starts in Britain.

Sunday's race marks the first time since the spring of 2005 that Mighty Beau has dropped from stakes races. He qualifies for this race by racing for an $80,000 claiming price under the optional conditions. Mark Guidry will ride.

Romans also starts Justice for Auston, who lacks the career accomplishments of his stablemate but who always seems to produce his best efforts over the Churchill Downs grass course.

Besides running fourth in the Texas Glitter, he ran second to Man of Illusion in the this year's Aegon Turf Sprint, finishing in front of Mighty Beau. He has a record of 3 wins, 3 seconds, and a third in 11 races over the Churchill Downs course.

The Nth Degree, seventh in the Aegon Turf Sprint and fifth in the Texas Glitter, seemingly needs a couple lengths of improvement to close the gap on the Romans-trained pair. This April, he won the Yankee Affair Stakes at Gulfstream going five furlongs on turf.

Other starters include Actual, who is perfect in three starts sprinting on grass; Going Wild,

winner of the San Miguel and Sham stakes as a 3-year-old in 2005; Don Manuel, a recent starter-allowance winner at Indiana Downs; and Kenta Kun, a fast second-level allowance winner who is scheduled to make his turf debut.

Two other allowances highlight Sunday's 10-race card, the seventh and ninth races.