05/12/2004 12:00AM

This time, she's ready for real


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A bloody nose caused Home Court to be scratched from a comeback race last month at Keeneland. In Friday's eighth race at Churchill Downs, she appears difficult to defeat - provided she does not stop herself again.

is a deserving favorite in the eighth race, a $47,900 entry-level allowance at seven furlongs. In her only race, she won her maiden last summer at Saratoga, defeating La Reina by three-quarters of a length.

Set for her 3-year-old bow last month at Keeneland, Home Court was scratched in the post parade when she began bleeding from her nostrils. The injury occurred moments earlier in the paddock, when she hit her head, trainer Ken McPeek said.

Now that Home Court is recovered, McPeek says he is expecting a strong effort.

Home Court, trained last year by James Bond, has breezed swiftly for McPeek over the past month, twice recording bullet works. McPeek says he has no doubt Home Court will return fit, even though she has not raced since Aug. 15.

"She's ready," he said confidently.

Brice Blanc has the mount.

Home Court, owned by the Alnoff Stable, faces 10 opponents. The opposition includes a mixture of talented 3-year-olds and older fillies and mares.

Cafe Flore is one of those gifted older horses. Sixth in her debut last June, she returned from a layoff of more than nine months and won by five lengths over next-out winner Our Josephina at Keeneland on April 17. She earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest in the field. Rafael Bejarano rides.

Notable 3-year-olds in the race include Lenatareese, fifth in the Grade 2 Golden Rod last year, and Twilight Gallop, who ran second at Keeneland in an allowance April 23.

also has graded stakes experience, having run sixth in the Grade 3 Dogwood nearly a year ago. Unraced since, she has recorded breezes at Payson Park, Churchill Downs, and Highpoint Training Center leading up to her return. John McKee rides for trainer Elliott Walden.

* Friday's 10-race card includes another allowance, the ninth race, a mile turf race for one-other-than fillies and mares. Gym Kid, fourth in an allowance earlier in the meet, stands out in a weak field.

Plaid, entered for the main track only, could challenge if the race is moved to the dirt course.