12/03/2009 12:00AM

Trainer looks to pull another Kentucky upset


Byron Hughes is still thrilled with what happened on the Clark Handicap undercard last weekend at Churchill Downs, where the veteran trainer sent out Rahystrada to a surprisingly easy score at 56-1 in the Grade 3 River City Handicap.

"That was a lot of fun," said Hughes.

Saturday, Hughes will drive from his year-round base at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky., to run the 3-year-old Seniga against 10 other fillies and mares in the $50,000 My Charmer Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. Seniga won't be the same huge price that Rahystrada was, but Hughes is hoping for the same kind of result in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race.

Seniga capped a three-race win streak earlier this year with a pair of victories in allowance races over the turf at Indiana Downs. She has run four times since then, with her last two races a seventh in the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs in September and fifth in the Grade 3 Valley View on yielding turf at Keeneland on Oct. 23.

"I think she has a good shot," said Hughes, a 56-year-old Kentuckian who oversees a stable of 19. "She's won at Turfway before, and she comes off two pretty good races at Kentucky Downs and Keeneland."

Seniga, with Dean Mernagh to ride, figures a middling choice in the My Charmer, which drew a well-matched field.

Among the likely favorites is Danzon, a graded stakes winner who won the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf and exits a rugged renewal of the Grade 1 First Lady at Keeneland. Also, Graham Motion will ship in the uncoupled duo of Miss Lombardi and Amie's Legend from Maryland. Miss Lombardi is 2 for 2 on synthetics while having raced primarily on grass, and Amie's Legend is a restricted stakes winner who would seem to fit the company.

Among the other notables entered in the My Charmer are Wellofaprize, who has 3 wins and 4 seconds from 9 starts over synthetics; Celtic Princess, a former Brazilian champion who resurfaces after a layoff of more than two years; Irish Ridge, a two-back winner of a Polytrack allowance at Keeneland; and Coulee, upset winner of a recent turf route at Churchill.

The My Charmer is the 10th of 11 races Saturday, when first post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.