05/18/2009 11:00PM

Wilkes eyes trio of allowances


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Churchill Downs regulars surely will take notice of a few changes Thursday.

One pretty obvious change is that they weren't here for live action the previous day, what with Wednesdays having been scrapped for the balance of the spring-meet schedule.

Another is an increased presence of the temporary lighting system that will enable the track to host nighttime programs on June 19, June 26, and July 2. Work on installing the light banks began Monday in earnest.

And another is a higher ratio of allowance races - at least for a day. Three of the nine Thursday races are allowances, with combined purses of more than $158,000 serving to lure some of the better stock available to racing secretary Ben Huffman and his staff.

The richest of the allowances goes early on the card, owing to it having drawn the shortest field of the three. Carded as the third race, the nominal feature is a $55,300 third-level sprint with an $80,000 claiming option. Peisinoe, winner of a restricted stakes at Gulfstream Park two starts back, looks like the horse to beat in a field of six fillies and mares, with Angels' Share and Valentine Fever also likely to attract solid play.

Peisinoe, trained by Ian Wilkes, actually has finished first in two stakes, although she was disqualified from an apparent win last summer in the Miss Woodford at Monmouth Park. Jamie Theriot will be aboard the Florida-bred filly when she breaks from post 4 in the six-furlong race.

Wilkes, who won the Matt Winn Stakes here last weekend with Capt. Candyman Can, also has main players in the two later allowances.

Wilkes will saddle Moonport in the seventh race, a $50,200 entry-level mile for 3-year-olds and up. Moonport, entered off a starter-allowance romp on closing day of the Keeneland meet, takes a moderate step up in class while retaining the meet's leading rider, Julien Leparoux.

In the eighth race, a $52,700 second-level turf route, Wilkes will send out another last-out Keeneland winner, Woodford Girl, as one of a handful of logical contenders in a race that seems full of wagering value.