10/21/2003 11:00PM

Commendation tries to follow sister's steps


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Commendation has a lot more to do to even approach what his highly decorated sibling has accomplished, but at least he's off to a good start. As a 2-year-old half-brother to Take Charge Lady, Commendation can keep heading in a positive direction Friday in the $100,000 Bourbon County Stakes at Keeneland.

Commendation, a gray colt by Capote out of Felicita, has already won 2 of 4 starts, including an Oct. 12 allowance prep for the Bourbon County. Owned by Courtlandt Farms and trained by Graham Motion, Commendation figures as one of the top wagering choices in a full field entered in the Bourbon County, a 1 1/16-mile grass race.

Courtlandt and Motion already have made a lasting impression at the Keeneland fall meet, having won the Oct. 11 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup with Film Maker. The QEII is one of three Grade 1 races here in the fall. One of the other two, the Spinster, was won for the second straight year by Take Charge Lady, a 4-year-old filly who has earned over $2.4 million for Select Stable. Take Charge Lady will run in the Breeders' Cup for the third straight year Saturday. Take Charge Lady, by Dehere, also is out of Felicita, by Rubiano.

Commendation won earlier in the meet with Pat Day aboard, but with Day leaving a day early for the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, Cornelio Velasquez has inherited the mount for the Bourbon County.

Like Commendation, at least a few other 2-year-olds in the Bourbon County have flashed promise.

Bachelor Blues suffered a 24-length loss on the dirt at Woodbine in his last race. But in his three starts before, all on turf, Bachelor Blues performed much better, including a Sept. 14 victory in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes in a field that included Commendation.

Freedom Counts, trained by Randy Morse, will stretch out around two turns for the first time after winning his turf debut in the Kimberlite Pipe Stakes last month at Kentucky Downs.

Atten Hut is another minor stakes winner, having captured the Manila during the final week of the Arlington Park meet for trainer Mark Thompson.

Ravadon, trained by Jimmy Baker, would do well to repeat his Keeneland debut, which resulted in a 10-1 upset in an Oct. 9 turf allowance.

In all, 12 were entered in the Bourbon County, but only 10 can start. Dynafire and Proper Prado are on an also-eligible list.

The Bourbon County is the eighth of nine races on a Friday card that includes four allowances (races 3, 5, 6, and 7) and a 1 3/16-mile starter allowance (race 9). First post is 1:15 p.m.

* Tenpins and Quest head a prospective field of seven older horses for the closing-day feature, the $150,000 Fayette Stakes here Saturday. First post for the abbreviated Saturday card is 12:30.

* Jockey Calvin Borel took off all mounts Wednesday because of the flu.