10/29/2008 11:00PM

Wiggins has two live fillies in Pocahontas


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It's been a while since owner Dolph Morrison and trainer Hal Wiggins witnessed the exploits of Morris Code, a filly sprinter who earned more than $700,000 when dominating her division throughout the Midwest in the late 1990s.

Morrison and Wiggins haven't made a whole lot of noise in the intervening years, but they're hoping to get a steady drumbeat from a pair of promising 2-year-old fillies, Abbott Hall and Rachel Alexandra, both of whom will draw solid support as separate wagering interests Saturday in the $100,000 Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs.

"If we get a little break, I think we might have a good shot in there," said the always understated Wiggins.

Abbott Hall, a six-length winner of the $150,000 Happy Ticket on the Sept. 20 Super Derby card at Louisiana Downs, is the lone stakes winner in either the Pocahontas or the Iroquois, the one-mile co-features on the Stars of Tomorrow card at Churchill. Although she has raced three times on turf and just once on dirt, Abbott Hall "should be okay on dirt," said Wiggins. "In her first start at Ellis Park, she ran a real good second. I really think she'll be fine coming back on the dirt."

Rachel Alexandra also has shown considerable potential in four starts. She won a key maiden race at Churchill in June, finished second in the Debutante Stakes two weeks later, then won an entry-level allowance at Keeneland in her only subsequent start on Oct. 17.

"She's very smart, never gets herself in any trouble, and has a lot of talent," said Wiggins.

Morrison, a retired steel executive from Alabama who moved in recent years to be closer to his grandchildren in Columbia, Mo., not only owns both Abbott Hall and Rachel Alexandra, but bred both, "which always makes it a little more special," said Wiggins.

Besides the Wiggins pair, other logical contenders in the Pocahontas include Pretty Prolific, the beaten favorite in the Arlington-Washington Lassie, and Petty Things, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland.

The balance of the eight-filly field all are entered off maiden wins: Sara Louise, Dr. Zic, Honchis'n Ponchis, and Selective.

The Pocahontas winner typically proceeds to the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes, which again will share top billing on the Nov. 29 closing-day card with its male counterpart, the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Dream Empress, runner-up last Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, is being pointed to the Golden Rod, said trainer Ken McPeek.

Stars of Tomorrow undercard highlights

This is the fourth fall meet for the Stars of Tomorrow concept, and as usual, the entire card appears full of hidden gems. Three entry-level allowances (races 2, 4, 7) are on the Saturday undercard, while the six races that make up the balance of the program are maiden special weight events.

Here are a few quick looks at those supporting races:

* Map of the World (race 2) won an Oct. 9 maiden race at Keeneland that was full of highly touted first-time starters, and despite earning a relatively low 70 Beyer Speed Figure, he sure had the look of a good horse.

* Star Citizen (race 3) has been working sensationally at Keeneland for John Gaver III, who won two races from just three starters at his home track.

* Smarty Jones fans will surely notice that two first-time starters from his first crop, Smart Attire and Maestro and Master, each bring decent works into the fifth race. But will another nice-looking beginner, Jazzandthemagician, by Birdstone, spoil their unveiling?

* Troy G. and Beethoven (race 7) were narrow losers to undefeated Iroquois contender Casey's on Call in a stirring three-horse photo on opening weekend at Keeneland and now stretch out to two turns when squaring off again.

Chilukki comes up strong

Baroness Thatcher and Leah's Secret are among 11 fillies and mares entered in a terrific running of the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes, highlight of a 10-race card Sunday at Churchill.

Baroness Thatcher, with Robby Albarado to ride, was assigned post 8 in the $150,000 Chilukki, which is run at a mile around one turn. Trained by Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Baroness Thatcher most recently won a Keeneland allowance to lift her career bankroll to $531,889.

Only Leah's Secret, with $675,439, has earned more among the Chilukki starters. Rene Douglas has the mount Sunday on Leah's Secret, a stakes-seasoned 5-year-old who captured the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup at Arlington Park three starts back.

Also in the Chilukki lineup are Initforthekandy, Striking Tomisue, Copper State, Unforgotten, Swift Temper, Tiz to Dream, Marquee Delivery, Super Freaky, and Amazing Speed.

Jockey ends eight-year retirement

The first race Thursday featured a new - albeit old - face emerging from the jockeys' room. Bobby McKnight, riding in a race for the first time in eight years, finished a creditable third aboard Crazi Truth in the one-mile maiden-claiming race.

"The last race I rode was in 2000 at River Downs," said McKnight, 54.

McKnight, who worked for several years as a mutuels clerk at Keeneland during his exile, rode with modest success in Maryland and West Virginia in the 1980s. He has exercised horses for years in the Lexington area, most recently for trainers Phil and Vicki Oliver and for Adrienne Moore, the trainer of Crazi Truth.