12/18/2003 12:00AM

Charles Town: Twin juvenile stakes


Charles Town celebrates the Christmas holiday early with a pair of $70,000 stakes for 2-year-olds going seven furlongs on Saturday night's program.

Red Velvet Cake and Take the Plunge, two of the sharpest 2-year-olds on the grounds, meet for the first time in the St. Nick Stakes. Absolute Rocks and Clay's Rocket, an entry owned by Michael Gill and trained by John Robb, are a formidable one-two punch in the Snow White Stakes, for fillies.

Take the Plunge has won his last two starts, both in restricted stakes, by a combined margin of 19 1/2 lengths. Red Velvet Cake comes off a 9 1/2-length win in the Tri-State Futurity. Both horses are front-runners.

Maryland shipper Acclimate showed good speed in the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity before weakening to finish fourth behind the highly regarded Tapit. Acclimate cuts back in distance after racing 1 1/16 miles in his last four starts.

Clay's Rocket, who has won all three of her starts at Charles Town by a combined margin of nearly 23 lengths, looks like the more formidable half of the Gill-Robb entry in the Snow White. While Clay's Rocket tries to carry her speed beyond 4 1/2 furlongs, Absolute Rocks shortens up from a pair of two-turn races, including a win against high-priced optional claimers at Laurel.

The chief threats to the entry are Star of Anziyan, who adds blinkers after winning her most recent start by nearly 10 lengths, and Singing Laur, who finished second behind Absolute Rocks in a maiden race but finished a quarter-length ahead of her last time out in the $100,000 Selima at Laurel.