10/31/2006 12:00AM

Wild Fit overdue for a win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It has been a little more than a year since Wild Fit wowed Breeders' Cup fans by finishing second with a stirring late run in the Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park. Few could have predicted that Wild Fit would go winless in five races thereafter, but with the Grade 2 Chilukki Stakes on tap Thursday at Churchill Downs, the filly is still struggling to find the winner's circle.

Patrick Biancone, who assumed the training of Wild Fit after his main clients, the Coolmore Stud partners, paid $3 million for her at public auction last November, believes an overdue victory in the Chilukki is a distinct possibility. Wild Fit, said Biancone, "has been training a lot better lately than she had been. I would not be surprised if she runs better than before."

Make no mistake that Wild Fit has been a disappointment in her five starts for Biancone. She has done no better than finish fourth in her last three starts, and the stretch rally that was her hallmark for previous connections has been largely nonexistent. Nonetheless, Biancone is insistent that a big effort may be forthcoming Thursday, when the $150,000 Chilukki kicks off Breeders' Cup week in earnest. Through Sunday, 13 more stakes, including the eight Breeders' Cup championships, will be run at Churchill.

"I expect her to improve," said Biancone. "Very much."

If indeed Wild Fit returns to her best form, she will do so after breaking from post 1 in a one-mile race contested around one turn. Julien Leparoux, the nation's leading jockey in wins, has the mount.

Other major contenders include Prospective Saint, a south Florida-based mare whose two stakes wins this year include the Gardenia at Ellis Park, and Joint Effort, whose three stakes wins this year include the La Troienne and Dogwood at Churchill.

"There's no doubt she loves this track," said Dale Romans, trainer of Joint Effort. "But I'm thinking of scratching. We might run her instead in the Very Subtle," a six-furlong race on the Breeders' Cup undercard Saturday.

Six fillies who won their respective last starts, all in allowance company, also help form an extremely deep cast for the Chilukki. Those horses are Humorous Gal, Golden Locket, Indian Flare, Mary Delaney, Carmandia, and Sangrita.

The Chilukki is named for the Bob Baffert-trained champion juvenile filly of 1999 who held the Churchill track record for 4 1/2 furlongs from 1999 to 2005. The race had been known as the Churchill Downs Distaff through 2004.