06/14/2006 11:00PM

Vulnerable chalks in Churchill feature


Suave and Second of June bring big reputations to Churchill Downs on Friday, but both may be vulnerable at low odds. Suave won the Grade 3 Northern Dancer over this surface in 2004, and was a gate-to-wire victor of the Grade 2 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap last summer, but his form has gone south of late. He finished sixth in both of his 2006 starts - the Donn and Gulfstream Park Handicaps -after pressing the pace, and his recent Beyer Speed Figures pale in comparison to his good form of last year. He looms the main speed turning back to a mile distance for Friday's $100,000 optional claimer, and reunites with Rafael Bejarano. The rider was aboard for Suave's runner-up finish in last year's Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Second of June hasn't faced the starter since a narrow defeat in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap last April. Prone to injuries to his ankles and leg joints, Second of June hasn't reached the winner's circle since his victory in the Grade 3 Holy Bull in January 2004. When he's right, he's very fast as evidenced by the five triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures earned in his last six races. Second of June is logical on numbers, but the layoff coupled with the probable short price are discouraging.

Perhaps Greater Good has finally found a winning spot. The winner of the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs in 2004, Greater Good brings a nine-race losing streak into Friday's event. He did put in a decent performance in his most recent run on May 26, however. Chasing a loose longshot leaders down the backstretch, Greater Good plodded home to a runner-up finish behind the heavily-favored winner. He earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure that day, a 17 point improvement from his previous start. Greater Good has tactical speed, and may attempt to run these down from just off the pace. He has a form edge over Suave, and a recency advantage over Second of June, and will likely offer greater value than both.

1. Greater Good
2. Second of June
3. Suave.