10/14/2002 11:00PM

Two Grade 3 races on weekend before the storm


LEXINGTON, Ky. - With virtually the entire racing world looking forward to the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup, stakes action throughout North America during the coming weekend will be relatively light.

That is only partly true at Keeneland, where two Grade 3 stakes should provide a welcome diversion. Those races are the $100,000 Valley View on Saturday and the $125,000 Thoroughbred Club of America on Sunday.

The turf course maximum of 10 starters appears likely for the Valley View, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies. Trainers Bill Mott and Elliott Walden have four of the 10 prospects between them: Mott with High Maintenance and Styleistick, and Walden with Bells for Marlin and Guana.

Guana, owned by Tom Van Meter, is one of the probable favorites for the Valley View, having been narrowly beaten two races ago in the Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga. In her lone start after the Lake George, Guana was a fourth as the even-money favorite in the Boiling Springs at The Meadowlands.

The other fillies likely for the Valley View are August Storm, Daisyago, Dreamers Glory, Kathy K D, Mariensky, and With Patience.

The Thoroughbred Club of America, long a definitive race on the Kentucky circuit for older filly-mare sprinters, also is expected to get a sizable field, with New York shippers such as Cat Cay and La Galerie likely to run.

Cat Cay, trained by Shug McGaughey, won the TCA last fall by 7 1/2 lengths. Although winless in three starts since February, she has run up against standouts such as Xtra Heat, Imperial Gesture, and Raging Fever in those races.

Other probables for the six-furlong TCA include Away, Don't Countess Out, French Riviera, Fuse It, Interest Only, Miss Photogenic, and Sweet Nanette.

Three good allowances

A Thursday program that begins with an assortment of claiming and maiden races will conclude with three excellent races, all of them allowances.

The nominal feature, a $63,000 race at 6 1/2 furlongs, drew an interesting runner returning from action here last weekend led by Ultimate Warrior, who on Saturday blitzed a terrific field of allowance horses by finishing six furlongs in 1:09. U.S. Jets and Blazing Count figure as the top opposition for Ultimate Warrior in the eighth race, which drew a field of six.

The ninth-race finale, a $60,000 turf race for older fillies and mares, drew such stakes-worthy horses as Watch, Quick Tip, and Solvig. Watch, a Claiborne Farm mare who has proven particularly adept over the grass, probably will be the favorite with Pat Day riding. A field of 10, including a Carl Nafzger-trained entry, has been entered.

The seventh race, for entry-level fillies and mares, offers a $52,000 purse and will be run at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet. Diamond Emblem, one of three horses that trainer Mike Stidham has entered on the program, looks as good as any in a field of eight.

First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

A Cup Day doubleheader

Many of the 26,714 who attended Keeneland last Saturday were headed to the University of Kentucky football game that evening at nearby Commonwealth Stadium. In most years, that would be the only "Bluegrass Doubleheader" of the meet.

But another one is around the corner. On Breeders' Cup Day, Oct. 26, Keeneland will run a live seven-race card, after which UK will host Georgia at 7 p.m.

The seven races are three more than in previous years here. Keeneland formerly ran four live races, then stopped for the BC simulcasts. This year, with a 12:30 post, most of the races will be interspersed with the BC card from Arlington.

Psychloan leads

Through eight of 17 days of the fall meet, the leader in the online handicapping contest has a bankroll of $262.20. The person goes by the clever handle of Psychloan.

The top 19 players have at least $200 in their bankrolls. This is the second meet that Keeneland has offered the online contest, in which registered players are permitted one selection per race. Bankrolls are accumulated by $2 win payoffs.

* At Churchill Downs in Louisville, Day Trader breezed a half-mile Tuesday in 49.40 seconds in his first start since finishing second in the Oct. 5 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland. Day Trader, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, is probable for the Breeders' Cup Sprint.