07/05/2002 11:00PM

Awesome Humor best in Debutante


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - During the brief but highly successful time in which Ronny Werner has raced horses in Kentucky, his horses have become known primarily for one thing: speed.

So it was no wonder Werner had a big grin on his face after Awesome Humor rallied from off the pace Saturday to post an impressive victory in the $109,500 Debutante Stakes.

"I've always thought a lot of her," said Werner, a Texas-based trainer who began making his presence felt in Kentucky with young horses at the 2001 Keeneland spring meet. "Oh, yeah, we'll be taking her to Saratoga."

Awesome Humor, ridden by Calvin Borel, was fifth behind a contested early pace in the Grade 3 Debutante, which was being run for the 102nd time at Churchill Downs. Into the stretch, Vibs, ridden by Robby Albarado, drew clear from D'Nile and Blues in Seattle, but then Awesome Humor came streaking home to win the 5 1/2-furlong race by two lengths.

Owned by Werner's main client, Tom Durant, Awesome Humor returned $17.20 as fifth choice in a field of seven 2-year-old fillies. In her only previous start, Awesome Humor won an April 11 maiden race at Keeneland.

"I didn't want to run her against boys," said Werner, explaining why Awesome Humor hadn't run since her maiden win. "She'd trained right along since her first race. She was right today."

Awesome Humor is a daughter of Distorted Humor, a young sire who in 1998 set a track record in the Churchill Downs Handicap. Werner, who said he has been assigned a limited number of stalls at Saratoga, said Awesome Humor could run in the Saratoga series of races for 2-year-old fillies, which starts opening day with the July 24 Schuy-lerville Stakes.

Over a fast track, fractions for the Debutante were 22.24 and 45.25, with Awesome Humor finishing in 1:03.45, .93 seconds off the track mark set last year by Cashier's Dream.

Attemptress finished third, two lengths behind Vibs. Blues in Seattle, the 3-2 favorite, was another two lengths back in fourth.