10/24/2005 11:00PM

Beau Dare aims beyond Jessamine County

Beau Dare's Kentucky Cup romp has her connections thinking big.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - No one could have blamed trainer Bob Holthus if he had gone hunting for bigger game with Beau Dare following her 6 1/4-length romp in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

But Holthus stuck to his guns. "We kind of had a plan, and I'm glad we stuck with it," he said.

, owned by the Walts David Stable of Mike Walts and Edwin David, bypassed the Oct. 7 Alcibiades Stakes, the main Kentucky prep for the Breeders' Cup, to await the Thursday feature at Keeneland, the $100,000 Jessamine County Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on the turf.

Holthus reasoned that Beau Dare is a proven entity on grass and, he said, "There will be plenty of time for us to try her out on the dirt."

In fact, Holthus is hoping the Jessamine County, at 1 1/16 miles, will be a springboard to the biggest 2-year-old filly race at the upcoming Churchill Downs fall meet, the Nov. 26 Golden Rod Stakes.

"That will tell us if she can run on dirt and which way we should head with her next year," he said. "She's a big, rangy filly who has needed to fill into her frame. We thought it would be best to take our time with her."

Beau Dare, with John McKee riding again, drew the outside post in a field of 10. McKee also was aboard for her three previous starts: two maiden races, including an Aug. 26 win on the Arlington Park turf, and the Sept. 17 Kentucky Cup triumph over Turfway Park's new Polytrack surface.

Last week, Holthus and McKee clicked with the longest-priced winner of the Keeneland fall meet: Journey Fever, winner of the sixth race Friday at a $132.20 mutuel.

Along with Beau Dare, the prime contenders in the Jessamine County include (post 3), a stretch-running New York invader trained by Sal Russo; and the Todd Pletcher-trained trio of Ready to Talk (post 4), Dyna's Destiny (post 6), and J'ray (post 9).

The rest of the field is Heavenly Oil, Halfkarat, Warrior Girl, and Lacy Lindsay.

The Jessamine County, formerly known as the Green River, is the eighth of nine races on a Thursday card that also includes two allowances (races 6 and 7). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

After Thursday, only two days remain at the Keeneland meet. Churchill Downs opens Sunday.