11/26/2002 1:00AM

Challenge RSVP's arriving


The fields for the six races that will make up the inaugural running of the Great State Challenge at Sam Houston Race Park Dec. 7 are taking shape, with horsemen starting to respond to invitations that were sent out Monday.

The final draw for the card, which matches statebreds from 11 states, will be Dec. 4. Each race is worth up to $275,000.

Take Charge Lady, set to run Thursday at Churchill Downs in the Falls City, is expected to run in the Distaff. Top horses considered definite for the Distaff are Two Item Limit and With Ability.

For the Classic, Easyfromthegitgo heads a field that will also include Best of the Rest, The Judge Sez Who, and Horrible Evening. Congaree, who was invited to compete, is instead being pointed for the Cigar Mile on Saturday at Aqueduct.

Probables for the Turf are Forbidden Apple, Continental Red, Mystery Giver, and Celtic Sky, while the leading contenders in the Sprint will be Disturbingthepeace and Day Trader.

In the two races for 2-year-olds, trainer Bob Baffert holds a strong hand, with Truckle Feature in the Juvenile and Atlantic Ocean in the Juvenile Fillies.

A plane carrying horses from Florida is scheduled to arrive at Sam Houston on Tuesday. The next day, a contingent from New York and Kentucky will fly into Houston, while a flight from California is scheduled to arrive Thursday.