Updated on 09/15/2011 1:27PM

Tough separating classy contenders


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Seven of them have tried stakes, and a couple have actually won one. As a group, the 11 fillies and mares scheduled to clash Thursday in the eighth-race feature at Churchill Downs form a classy bunch, although most racing fans merely will want to know who is classy enough to prevail on this particular afternoon.

Rose Frances, winner of the Matchmaker Sprint at Thistledown on the Ohio Derby undercard, ranks among the top candidates in the $50,700 race, which goes at 6 1/2 furlongs. Trained by Bernie Flint, the 3-year-old Rose Frances most recently was trounced in the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America, a race that clearly did not showcase her true ability.

Emily Ring, nailed in the final stride the last time this third-level allowance was run here, is another major contender. Two starts back, Emily Ring, trained by Blackie Huffman, finished second in the Silver Maiden at Arlington, an effort she validated with her recent near-miss.

My Alibi, third in the 2000 TCA, returns from an eight-month layoff for Tom Amoss. A 5-year-old mare with one U.S. win, My Alibi displayed her willingness to get back in action when she breezed five furlongs in 58 seconds here early this month.

Dressed In Gold, winner of the 2000 Ellis Park Debutante, is the other stakes winner in the field.

Other contenders include Golightly, Southern Tour, Designer Phone, and the Dale Romans-trained entry of Silk Sails and Legendary Lady.

Bet Me Best hangs on

Bet Me Best ($8), ridden by Larry Melancon, raced Silver Chadra into defeat before narrowly holding off He Be Irish to win the Tuesday feature, a $57,200 allowance at six furlongs.

Bet Me Best, trained by Elliott Walden, was timed in a quick 1:08.92. Valiant Style, the 9-5 favorite, finished third in a field of seven.

* Jon Court rode four winners on the Tuesday undercard, putting him in second place behind Pat Day in the jockey standings. Jorge Chavez rode two winners. Through Tuesday, Day had 19 winners, followed by Court (16), Chavez (14), and Robby Albarado (14).

* Halters and shanks surrounded the claims clerk's office after the third race Tuesday, in which Miss O. finished a close second. Eight claims were submitted for Miss O., a 3-year-old Olympio filly, with owner Randy Cash and trainer Edward Cash winning the post-race shake for her.

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