11/01/2003 12:00AM

Yell vs. Awesome Humor at last


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Awesome Humor and Yell have competed against virtually every top 3-year-old filly in North America. Between them, they have racked up six stakes wins and over $1.2 million. But they have never raced against each other, a curious truth that is scheduled to change Saturday in the $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff, a Grade 2 handicap that highlights the coming weekend here.

Weights were released Saturday for the one-mile Churchill Distaff, and 4-year-old Take Charge Lady was named the nominal highweight at 124 pounds. But since Take Charge Lady most likely will bypass the race and run in the Nov. 27 Falls City Handicap, the probable starting highweights will be Awesome Humor, with 118 pounds, and Yell, with 116.

Yell, the Claiborne Farm filly whose victory in the Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland last month ended a five-race streak in which she raced exclusively in Grade 1 company, will be ridden by Pat Day in the CD Distaff. Awesome Humor, a Grade 1 winner last year, has been first or second in 5 of her 6 starts this year and will be ridden by Robby Albarado.

Honor in War considering Clark

Honor in War, a Grade 1 winner on turf, is under consideration for the $500,000 Clark Handicap, the marquee race of the Churchill fall meet, said Will Wolford, who manages the 3rd Turn Stables partnership, which owns the 4-year-old colt. The primary reason for possibly switching Honor in War to the dirt is the upside potential of his residual value if he were to run well, said Wolford.

Honor in War, trained by Paul McGee, was a sharp second to Perfect Soul in his last start, the Oct. 5 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, but missed the Breeders' Cup Mile because of a wrenched ankle. The colt has been back in training for nearly two weeks.

Honor in War was nominated to the November breeding stock sale at Keeneland but has been withdrawn.

Two out of three pays $700

How difficult was the first pick three here Friday? Not only were there no perfect tickets from a pick three pool of $16,852, but also $2 tickets with 2 of 3 winners paid an exorbitant $700.

The big payoff stemmed from the horses that won those first three races. In order, the winners were Golden Aura ($69.60), Departing Dynamo ($24.40), and Sylvan Approval ($117.40).

King Knocker best of grays

When the latch was sprung Friday for the fourth race, a highly unusual sight occurred: 10 gray horses were perfectly arrayed across the track.

Named the Grey Ghost, in recognition of Halloween and restricted to gray or roan horses who fit the starter-allowance conditions, the one-mile race was won in a veritable gallop by King Knocker, an Illinois shipper trained by Tom Trione Jr.

Donna Barton Brothers off to college

Donna Barton Brothers, the former jockey who has become an integral part of NBC-TV's Thoroughbred racing programs, has given up weekday work on the Churchill Downs simulcast telecasts because she is taking a full load of college courses.

Brothers is pursuing a psychology degree at the University of Louisville. She continues to work weekends at Churchill. Jill Byrne is replacing her during the week.

Saturday undercard results

Scat Sam Man probably will run back in the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on Nov. 29 after an impressive three-length win in an entry-level 2-year-old allowance Saturday for trainer Tom Amoss.

Also Saturday, Sam Lord's Castle ($13.60) pulled a minor upset in a $61,000 allowance at seven furlongs. Always prominent under Pat Day, Sam Lord's Castle, a 5-year-old horse making his first start in nearly 15 months, won by 6 3/4 lengths. Cashel Castle, the 2-5 favorite, finished third.