06/16/2005 12:00AM

Two Trail Sioux gets better pace


NEW YORK - It's a huge day of racing Saturday at Churchill Downs with the $750,000 Stephen Foster Handicap heading a card that also includes five other stakes events worth another $1 million in combined purse money.

Fleur de Lis Handicap

Five of the eight entrants in this race competed in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap on Kentucky Oaks Day, including the first three finishers: Shadow Cast, Island Sand, and Storm's Darling. Of these five, the one who went off the lowest odds in the Louisville 'Cap was Two Trail Sioux, and she had the worst finish, checking in a distant eighth. But you can draw a line through that debacle. This race sets up much better for Two Trail Sioux, and she is taken to win this at a price that will be much better than the 3-1 she was last time.

There was a lot of early speed in the Louisville, and that was to Two Trail Sioux's detriment since she had a pace-involved running style. The thing is, Two Trail Sioux had little to no chance to be involved early. She missed her break, and then checked on the rail entering the first turn when in tight, effectively ending whatever shot she had a quarter of a mile into the race. In the meantime, the hotly contested pace set the table perfectly for the stretch-runners Shadow Cast and Island Sand.

This time, there is not nearly as much genuine early speed. That means Shadow Cast and Island Sand are going to have to be better at considerably lower odds. But that also means Two Trail Sioux should, from her inside post, be a prominent player in the pace, just as she was when she won five straight in Southern California and Arkansas before her Louisville misstep.

Regret Stakes

Sweet Talker has been big so far at the Churchill meet, winning the Edgewood and then an allowance prep for this race. As sharp as she is, however, she got good trips in both of her recent scores, and she must negotiate a longer distance this time. In other words, she faces some questions.

I like Rich in Spirit, who finished like a rocket when second to Sweet Talker in the Edgewood. Rich in Spirit gained 3 3/4 lengths on Sweet Talker in the final furlong of that event, extending a trend of finishing strongly ever since she switched to turf six starts ago, and giving the strong impression that she will be even more formidable at longer distances. In fact, the only other member of this field who has had meaningful success at Saturday's 1 1/8-mile distance is Cape Hope, and her fourth without excuse as the favorite in the Edgewood suggests she is not in her best form right now.

Dallas Turf Cup

The horse who comes into this off the best last-race is Waupaca, but all four times he has tried to stretch out to 1 1/8 miles, the distance he must go Saturday, he not only failed to win, he failed to manage an in-the-money finish. And then there is Fullbridled, whose three races on turf this year in Southern California were all solid. But Fullbridled will be facing more seasoned competition, and who knows how he will react shipping into a 98-degree steam bath.

Major Rhythm is the pick. Major Rhythm was a much-improved second last time out in an overnight stakes at Arlington Park and looks to be rounding to the form that enabled him to win the DeBartolo Memorial last September at Remington Park in what may have been a career-best effort. In that event (notably, at nine furlongs), Major Rhythm scored by three emphatic lengths over Maysville Slew, winner of last year's Dallas Turf Cup.


Churchill Downs: Regret Stakes
Fillies, 3-years-old, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: Eastern-6:01 p.m., Central-5:01 p.m., Mountain-4:01 p.m., Pacific-3:01 p.m.; Louisville, Ky., forecast: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees

1Mi Luna Nueva81817820-1
3Special Grayce71777150-1
4Insan Mala9055826-1
5Classy Charm8963638-1
6Ascot Dream70n/an/a15-1
8Sweet Talker8996843-1
9Royal Bean8873768-1
10Cape Hope8479899-2
11Rich in Spirit9485824-1

Track morning line odds

Lone Star Park: Dallas Turf Cup Handicap
3 and up, 1 1/8 miles, turf

Approximate post: E-6:19 p.m., C-5:19 p.m., M-4:19 p.m., P-3:19 p.m.; Grand Prairie, Tx., forecast: Partly cloudy, 98 degrees

1Gulf News89888020-1
2Absent Friend9996997-2
4Crowned King9691969-2
6Sea Dub94948515-1
7Erroneous I D90908015-1
9Alpha Capo89668915-1
10Major Rhythm94908812-1

Track morning line odds

Churchill Downs: Fleur De Lis Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles

Approximate post: E-6:33 p.m., C-5:33 p.m., M-4:33 p.m., P-3:33 p.m.; Louisville, Ky., forecast: Partly cloudy, 76 degrees

1Two Trail Sioux66100944-1
2Shadow Cast10197933-1
3Quick Temper83807415-1
4Island Sand9995897-2
6Rare Gift10297884-1
7Storm's Darling98949710-1
8La Reason10073846-1

Track morning line odds