03/28/2002 1:00AM

De Bertie should better her last Ky. finish


When last she raced in Kentucky, De Bertie finished seventh and last.

Well, no wonder. Every one of her six rivals that November afternoon were Grade 1 stakes winners. There was little shame in getting beaten less than 10 lengths by Forest Secrets and the other top-class fillies in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.

Since then, De Bertie has recovered admirably, winning two minor stakes at Gulfstream Park from four subsequent starts. On Saturday, De Bertie returns to her home circuit when facing 10 other fillies and mares in an unusually tough running of the $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

De Bertie, trained by Steve Flint, is a multiple graded winner who has earned more than $440,000. A 5-year-old mare by De Niro, De Bertie should be the solid favorite in a field that also includes the graded winner Miss Pickums and several other capable rivals.

Miss Pickums, an earner of just over $300,000, was an easy winner of the Feb. 9 Likely Exchange Stakes at Turfway. She was scheduled to wheel back as a strong favorite in the Wintergreen Stakes on March 9, but strong winds and inclement weather forced that race to be canceled.

Upset threats include Seven Four Seven, a winner in three of her last four starts, and Momentous, a recent returnee from Fair Grounds.

The Fairway Fun, which formerly had been part of the Spiral Stakes undercard, is the final stakes of the Turfway winter-spring meet.

* All-sources handle last Saturday, the day of the Lane's End Spiral Stakes, was $6,686,756; that number was down 20 percent from the same day last year, when all-sources handle was $8,367,237. Ontrack business was virtually the same as last year, with $1,945,179 in handle, an increase of less than 1 percent. Attendance of 19,076 surpassed the 17,458 for last year.

* The semi-annual Turfway Handicapping Blowout will be held here Saturday. A total of $15,000 in cash prizes, and berths in the National Handicapping Championship next winter in Las Vegas, are at stake. For more information, call Ida Meade at (859) 647-4841.

* With Sunday dark because of Easter, just two programs, Wednesday and Thursday, remain at the meet. Action on the Kentucky circuit shifts Friday to Keeneland for its 16-day spring meet. Bernie Flint appears to have wrapped up his sixth straight Turfway training title, while Greta Kuntzweiler is headed for her first riding title.

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