05/04/2005 12:00AM

Tight pack from Transylvania return

Bill Straus
Left to right: Chattahoochee War, Guillaume Tell, and Rey de Cafe were the respective one-two-three finishers in the Transylvania.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The first five finishers from last month's Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland, including the top three, who were separated by a neck at the finish, square off again in the Grade 3, $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf, for 3-year-olds. The Crown Royal is one of five stakes on Friday's Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

, who faded to fourth as the even-money favorite, and Moth Ball, who dueled early with Dubleo and wound up fifth, are also back in this 1 1/16-mile grass race.

Dubleo had won 7 of 10 starts before his uncharacteristically poor performance in the Transylvania. He was hounded through fast fractions of 22.40 and 45.60 seconds for the first half-mile by Moth Ball, but Moth Ball was adding blinkers that day and they are to be removed Friday.

"He was too fresh and too rank," trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday morning of Dubleo. "You can't go that fast on most turf courses, especially at Keeneland."

Pletcher also sends out Guillaume Tell, who is coming off his best performance since arriving from France.

"He ran well coming from well off the pace," Pletcher said.

Chattahoochee War benefited from the hot pace and survived a late bump with Guillaume Tell to prevail in the Transylvania while being ridden for the first time by Jerry Bailey. He has rotated wins and losses throughout his five-race career, but trainer Bobby Frankel believes Chattahoochee War can put together consecutive strong efforts.

"He ran very well, and he's going to run very well," Frankel said.

In his previous start, at Santa Anita, Chattahoochee War was fourth in the Pasadena Stakes at Santa Anita after breaking from post 12.

"He had to break from an outside post, it's a small course, and he didn't get to run until it was too late," Frankel said.

Rush Bay, who was seventh in the Arkansas Derby, is moving to the turf for the first time. He is by Cozzene, so he has a right to improve on grass.