08/31/2004 12:00AM

Flint trio looks formidable


CINCINNATI - Bernie Flint and Patrick Biancone have the most promising prospects in the two 2-year-old races that will bring the River Downs meet to its peak this weekend. But while Flint is looking to overwhelm the Bassinet Stakes with three fillies, Biancone could dominate the Cradle Stakes with just one colt.

The $100,000 Bassinet, a six-furlong race to be run here Saturday, has drawn a field of 11 fillies, most notably a trio from Flint's stable at Churchill Downs: Im a Dixie Girl, Angel Trumpet, and Runway Model.

The $200,000 Cradle, the traditional Labor Day event at River, will be the domain of Scipion, the Biancone-trained colt who turned many heads in his only start Aug. 14 at Saratoga.

Flint, who has already won three runnings of the Bassinet, will employ strength in numbers in his attempt at a fourth. Im a Dixie Girl (post 5) scored an 8 1/4-length triumph in the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park in her most recent start. Angel Trumpet (post 7) has already been second in two stakes, the Schuylerville at Saratoga and the Fisher Debutante at Ellis Park. And Runway Model (post 11) was a 9 1/4-length winner of the Aug. 15 Bassinet prep, earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

All three Flint fillies will race as separate wagering interests, and all three seem accomplished enough to be the favorite.

Other logical contenders in the Bassinet include Sweet Miss El and Gallant Secret.

The Bassinet, which has been sponsored since 2000 by Pepsi, will be part of a live telecast on ESPN2. Post time has been set for 4:22 p.m. Eastern.

Meanwhile, the Cradle figures to have a clear-cut favorite in Scipion, a flashy last-to-first winner of his debut. About six or seven other 2-year-old colts and geldings are expected to oppose Scipion in the Cradle, a 1 1/16-mile race that usually marks the two-turn debut for most of the starters.

An A.P. Indy colt bred and owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, Scipion was all the rage at Saratoga when Biancone unveiled him in a seven-furlong maiden race. Last of eight nearing the eighth pole, Scipion passed the entire field in the final furlong, winning as a well-meant, odds-on favorite.

The Cradle, sponsored by Miller beer, also is expected to get Belarion, Cat Tourn, Copy My Notes, Diamond Isle, Flyrock, Quick Blend, and perhaps another longshot or two. Entries will be drawn Friday.