02/13/2003 12:00AM

Contenders abound in Silverbulletday


NEW ORLEANS - Take Charge Lady blew into town from Florida a year ago and won the Silverbulletday Stakes by more than eight lengths, equaling the track record for 1 1/16 miles. This year's race hardly could be more different. Bumped up to Grade 2 status, the $150,000 Silverbulletday drew a field of eight 3-year-old fillies just trying to fit into the division, not dominate it.

Lady Tak would have clearly been the favorite Saturday, but she's waiting for the Fair Grounds Oaks next month. Allspice finished second to Lady Tak last time and could inherit the favorite's role Saturday, but she's just one of several horses who can win. Golden Marlin won a Turfway sprint stakes in her last race and is bred for this route distance; Rebridled Dreams crushed a field of first-level allowance horses in her first two-turn start; and Souris has placed in three straight stakes races.

"It seems like an open race," said trainer Eddie Kenneally, who starts Belle of Perintown.

Belle of Perintown won the Pocohontas Stakes last fall at Churchill Downs and was fifth in the Grade 2 Golden Rod, but her Tiffany Lass was a disaster. Kenneally said Belle of Perintown "panicked" in the starting gate, rearing up and flipping over. The experience shook her, and jockey Calvin Borel "went easy on her through the stretch," Kenneally added.

Belle of Perintown has since schooled in the gate without incident and has trained strongly, Kenneally said.

But nobody has been training better than Rebridled Dreams, who makes her stakes debut. Rebridled Dreams won her maiden sprinting last December before stretching out to an easy six-length allowance victory, and her works since then have been powerful, including six furlongs in 1:12.80 here Jan. 25.

"She's coming up to the race real well," Calhoun said "You hope with the two-turn race that she's learned what she's doing and she's going to go out and relax a little better."

Rebridled Dreams might make the lead again, but Golden Marlin showed speed in sprints and will be placed forwardly. Souris also has route speed, and any sort of battle for the early lead plays to Allspice. Allspice ran in spurts when she was second in the Tiffany Lass, but she finished well and galloped out strongly after a horse ranged up to her at the quarter-pole. With a little more focus and an honest pace to chase, Allspice can notch her first graded stakes win.

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