02/23/2006 12:00AM

Flint has 2 reasons to watch


When the Valdale Stakes is run Saturday at Turfway Park, trainer Bernie Flint may have already attained a coveted racing milestone: 3,000 wins.

After winning the fourth race Wednesday night at Turfway with a gelding named Rubiblue, Flint's career total stood at 2,999. And by the time the Valdale is run late Saturday afternoon, he will already have had several chances to hit 3,000, having entered horses at Turfway, Oaklawn Park, and perhaps elsewhere. Whatever the case, Flint will be closely watching the $50,000 Valdale via simulcast from his traditional winter base at Oaklawn in Arkansas.

"It's been a long road getting to this point, a real long road," Flint said early Thursday from Oaklawn. "I guess I've outlasted most everybody else, shown my durability. In the days when you had to be in one spot, this would be an incredible number. Of course those days were a lot different than it is now. There weren't as many big outfits as there are now."

Flint, 66, has been a full-time trainer since 1976, when he took early retirement from the New Orleans police force. He has won 36 titles on the Kentucky circuit, including 20 at Turfway, and titles at at least five other tracks outside Kentucky.

Saturday, with assistant Gary Borgemenke deputizing for him at Turfway, Flint will be represented by the uncoupled duo of in the one-mile Valdale. Seen Dancing is the more accomplished of the two, having captured the Dec. 26 Gowell Stakes at Turfway.

"She'll definitely run, but I'm still kind of on the fence about whether to scratch Heavenly Oil," said Flint. "She's a lot better than that last race," a last-place finish in the Jan. 21 Cincinnati Trophy at Turfway.

Perhaps the favorite in the Valdale will be , primarily because the meet's leading rider, Julien Leparoux, has the mount.

In all, 13 3-year-old fillies were entered in the Valdale, with Auntie's Trick the lone also-eligible for a race limited to 12 starters.

The Valdale is the local prep for the Bourbonette Stakes on the March 25 Lane's End Stakes undercard.