11/13/2003 1:00AM

Charles Town: Futurity split in two


Unlike the Tri-State Futurity three weeks ago, Saturday night's West Virginia Futurity at Charles Town drew enough entries to be split into two divisions worth $25,000 apiece.

Unfortunately for horseplayers, the two best horses on paper won't be facing each other, so neither division shapes up as a good betting race.

In race 4, the clear-cut standout is Take the Plunge, a gelding who improved his Beyer Speed Figure from a 46 to a 71 when he defeated nine rivals in one of the West Virginia Breeders' Classic stakes on Oct. 11. The second-best Beyer (56) belongs to Crafty Carni, a filly who will be trying to stretch out to seven furlongs after racing 4 1/2 furlongs in each of her first six career starts.

Petes Hick Chick will be a short-priced favorite in the second division (race 6). He has won his last two starts, both in restricted stakes, by a combined 11 1/2 lengths, but both of those wins were at 4 1/2 furlongs. Four of his six opponents are maidens, including two first-time starters.