11/26/2002 12:00AM

Allamerican holiday fare


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Thanksgiving Day has always been a lot like any other day for Steve Flint.

"We've always run a bunch of horses that day," said Flint.

Of course, turkey and the trimmings always follow, but as on previous Thanksgivings, Flint will focus on racing again Thursday. That's entirely understandable, because the 42-year-old trainer will send out his stable star, Allamerican Bertie, as one of the top contenders in the Grade 2, $250,000, Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Flint, who worked under his father, trainer Bernie Flint, for some 20 years before going out on his own last year, is hopeful that Allamerican Bertie will run one of her better races when she faces the multiple Grade 1 winner, Take Charge Lady, and four other fillies and mares in the 87th running of the Falls City.

Allamerican Bertie, with Pat Day to ride, has run several sensational races this year, including wins in the Delaware Oaks and a recent Churchill allowance and a narrow runner-up finish behind Farda Amiga in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes.

"She's shown she can compete against top fillies, and she loves Churchill," said Flint. "Now we've got to see if she's improved enough since last spring to turn the tables on Take Charge Lady."

Six months ago, Take Charge Lady handily defeated Allamerican Bertie in their only meeting, the Dogwood Stakes. But Ken McPeek, who trains Take Charge Lady, knows Allamerican Bertie has made substantial progress since then.

"Steve's going to make us work for this one," said McPeek.

Edgar Prado will ride Take Charge Lady, who carries high weight of 122 pounds. In her last start, Take Charge Lady finished sixth as the second betting choice in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, a race from which she emerged with a guttural pouch infection. Before that, Take Charge Lady won the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes, lifting her career bankroll to nearly $1.6 million for the Select Stable of Jerry and Feye Bach.

The rest of the Falls City field is Printemps, Softly, Lady Shari, and Due to Win.

The Falls City, which dates to the track's inaugural meet in 1875, goes as the 10th of 11 races on a Thursday card that also includes four allowances.

Special first post for the final three programs of the fall meet is 11:30 a.m. Eastern. Twelve races will be run Friday and Saturday.

Post time for the Falls City is 3:49 p.m. The last race is scheduled for 4:17.

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