10/10/2007 11:00PM

Touch My Soul looks like a QE II overlay

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Touch My Soul is not the most likely winner of Saturday's Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. That filly is Dreaming of Anna.

Touch My Soul might not even be the second-, third-, or even fourth-most-probable winner, given that Bit of Whimsy, Sharp Susan, and Costume - the two-three-four finishers from the last month's Grade 1 Garden City Handicap - are also in the QE II.

What Touch My Soul offers is a rewarding price relative to chances of victory. If she sticks to her morning-line price of 12-1 or drifts higher, she would be an overlay relative to what I would consider to be fair odds, 8-1 or so.

A Group 3 winner in Germany, Touch My Soul comes off a distant runner-up finish behind Dreaming of Anna in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington. Although beaten 4 1/4 lengths and all out to win a blanket photo for second, her performance was solid considering the obstacles she faced.

The race was her first start in this country. She was off a bit late and raced in traffic for much of the race. And she also competed without the anti-bleeding medication Lasix.

Saturday, when she goes in the QE II, she will get Lasix for the first time and also receive adjunct bleeder medication, additions that should logically aid her breathing and therefore her performance.

This is not a case of a horse adding Lasix just because everyone seems to run horses on it. Touch My Soul reportedly bled through both nostrils in her first start this year in Germany. Yet despite racing without medication overseas, she usually performed at a high level - notably running second behind a quality filly in Shane in one of Germany's better juvenile races last year.

I anticipate that the betting public won't respect her German form. The racing there is consistently viewed by horseplayers as weak next to that of England, Ireland, and France, although horses that began their careers in Germany have won major races in the United States.

In a few notable examples, Silvano won the Grade 1 Arlington Million in 2001, his half-brother Sabiango won the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham in 2004, and Shirocco won the 2005 Breeders' Cup Turf.

That is not to suggest that they all turn out so well. Importing European horses can be a hit-or-miss proposition. My hope is that Touch My Soul is one of the hits. At 12-1, she is a gamble worth taking.

Good spot for Lady Digby

Staying in the 3-year-old filly grass division, I like Lady Digby to win Saturday's $200,000 Calder Oaks. An improving Grand Slam filly, she has found a home on grass, and Saturday's Calder Oaks presents a favorable opportunity for her to win her first stakes race.

Likely because the QE II has drawn the top 3-year-old fillies in the country, the Calder Oaks is soft for such a lucrative race. Except for Lady Digby, all the entrants are Florida-based horses who have mostly been competing at Calder in $50,000 and $100,000 stakes races.

In contrast, Lady Digby comes off a third-place finish in the Weekend Madness Stakes at Saratoga Sept. 3.

That was a quality stakes race. The victorious Classic Neel is running in Saturday's QE II. And the runner-up, Unspoken Word, came back to win the Wild Applause at Belmont in her next start.

Given plenty of recovery time since her last start, Lady Digby should be poised for a strong performance in the Calder Oaks. She can beat main rivals Snow Cone and Sweet Exchange with her best race.

One Eyed Joker can strike again

Moving to a race for males, One Eyed Joker is the play of the $200,000 Maryland Million Turf at Laurel Park. A winner of three straight since joining the barn of trainer Mike Maker, he looms an overlay if he stays close to his 9-2 morning-line price.

Unable to win a $6,250 claimer in late January at Gulfstream, One Eyed Joker has made tremendous strides since, particularly this summer. He closed to win a slow-paced starter allowance at Ellis Park July 25, came back to take the Claiming Crown Emerald there Aug. 4, and then won a rich starter allowance over the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs Sept. 1.

Although he shows no other stakes in his current past performance lines (except for the Claiming Crown Emerald, which doesn't count as a black-type race), the 9-year-old One Eyed Joker is no stranger to big races. He has already won five black-type stakes races on grass, and should pick up his sixth Saturday.