11/17/2004 12:00AM

Two on the inside look sharp


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Confirmed and Come Out Smokin' each made his last start on Oct. 27 at Keeneland, albeit in different races and at slightly different distances. If they had happened to oppose each other that day, it probably would have been close: Confirmed earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92 as the runner-up in a second-level allowance at 1 1/8 miles, after which Come Out Smokin' got a Beyer Figure of 91 in winning an entry-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles.

Some three weeks later, the two actually will race against each other as the prime contenders in the Friday feature at Churchill Downs, a $54,900 allowance at 1 1/16 miles. Confirmed most likely will be the favorite, and not just because he is slightly more seasoned and consistent: Pat Day, who happened to ride both colts on Oct. 27, chose Confirmed over Come Out Smokin', the kind of decision that normally has at least a little influence on how horseplayers approach a given race.

, owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Nick Zito, drew post 2 among a field of six entered in the Friday feature, which goes as the eighth of 10 races. Come Out Smokin', with Brice Blanc replacing Day, drew the rail.

The latest race for Confirmed, a son of Unbridled Song, only served to confirm his consistency. From 12 career starts, he has 2 wins, 7 seconds, and 1 third, and his Beyers have leveled off in the mid-90's range, numbers that should be good enough to get him through this second allowance condition fairly soon.

, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, has taken a bit longer to come to hand. A Smoke Glacken colt who was kept at sprint distances for the first seven races of his career, he showed more effective speed when stretched out in his last two starts, and it is that dimension that makes him a solid gate-to-wire threat Friday.

Besides the two inside horses, the other logical contenders in the feature include Breakaway, a Silver Deputy 3-year-old seeking his first victory since mid-February, and Kuch, a late-striding 4-year-old. Kuch, named for professional golfer Matt Kuchar, recently had a useful one-turn prep at Keeneland for trainer Carl Nafzger and could present the most serious late threat.

Rogue Scholar and Nakayama Kun round out the field.

The Friday program also includes one other allowance (race 9) and is bookended by two starter-allowance events (races 1 and 10). First post for the 15th of 21 fall programs is 12:40 p.m.