11/07/2001 12:00AM

Just-sold Gino's Spirits gets one last race


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Gino's Spirits was sold Wednesday at Keeneland but still will get to make what figures to be the final start of her career Saturday in the Cardinal Handicap at Churchill Downs.

"We're going to get to run her," trainer Elliott Walden said soon after Gino's Spirits was sold for $550,000 to the Newsells Park Stud of Klaus Jacobs, a German commercial breeder.

As such, Gino's Spirits, winner of the Kentucky Cup Ladies and the Bryan Station Stakes in her last two starts, will be the starting highweight and probable favorite in the $150,000 Cardinal, a Grade 3 turf race for fillies and mares.

Walden was uncertain Wednesday morning about what would transpire with Gino's Spirits, who had been owned by a partnership including Tom VanMeter. If the mare did not sell, she almost certainly would have run in the Cardinal, but a change of ownership could have meant virtually anything. Walden said he expects that Gino's Spirits, an earner of nearly $400,000, will leave his barn after the Cardinal for Newsells, which is based in England.

Pat Day will have the mount on Gino's Spirits, who will carry 118 pounds. At least six others are likely for the 1 1/8-mile Cardinal: Babae, 117; Clearly a Queen, 115; Ioya Two, 115; Watch, 114; Binalegend, 113; and Lady Tamworth, 109.

Tijiyr top-weighted trouble in River City

The Cardinal is the female half of a weekend stakes doubleheader that continues Sunday with the River City. Conditions for the River City are identical to the Cardinal except that it is for males.

Tijiyr, the 117-pound highweight, leads the list of probables for the River City. Others are Dr. Kashnikow, Make No Mistake, Minor Wisdom, Strategic Mission, Nat's Big Party, Medievil Hero, Field Cat, and Just Like Jimmy.

McPeek 'leaning' to KJC for Repent

Repent had his first workout since finishing second at 42-1 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Wednesday morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.40 over a fast track here.

Trainer Ken McPeek said he is "leaning" toward running Repent in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes here closing day, Nov. 24, while keeping Iroquois Stakes winner Harlan's Holiday in the barn.

"But we've got over two weeks, so that could change," he said.

Also on Wednesday McPeek worked Take Charge Lady, sixth in the BC Juvenile Fillies. The filly went five furlongs in a bullet 1:00. She is likely to be one of the favorites in the Golden Rod Stakes, also on closing day.

Younger Flint lands first winner as trainer

When De Bertie won the Sabin and Rampart handicaps at Gulfstream last winter, Bernie Flint was listed as trainer of the 4-year-old filly, owned by the Klein family of Louisville. But it was Bernie's son, Steve, who oversaw the day-to-day training of his father's Gulfstream string while Bernie managed the rest of his horses in Kentucky.

On Tuesday, Steve Flint, 41, recorded the first official victory of his career when De Bertie wore down heavily favored front-runner Maltese Superb to win the $59,800 feature race. Flint became the trainer of record for the Kleins in late September.

"It was great to get this win out of the way," Flint said.

De Bertie, making her first start since the Rampart in March, paid $7.20. She ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.73, with Jorge Chavez up.

Both De Bertie and Maltese Superb could wheel back in the $250,000 Falls City Handicap here Nov. 22.

Trainer on Halo's Stride: 'Future bright on grass'

Halo's Stride became something of an historical footnote in March by finishing second at 55-1 in the Spiral Stakes, beaten 12 3 /4 lengths by Balto Star. Halo's Stride was shelved for several months because of a chipped knee suffered in the Spiral and then returned to action with a poor effort at Keeneland last month.

Last weekend, however, Halo's Stride ran extremely well when narrowly beaten in a second-level turf allowance.

"I think he's got a bright future on the grass," said trainer Bob DeSensi. "We're hoping to run him here one more time, then send him south for the winter. I'll either send him with Steve Penrod to Florida or with Walt Bindner to New Orleans."

Miss Pickums back after eight-month layoff

Miss Pickums, winner of the Golden Rod last year, is scheduled to return to action following a layoff of nearly eight months when making her turf debut Saturday in a third-level allowance race.

Miss Pickums, owned by Jan, Mace, and Samantha Siegel, is unraced since finishing fifth in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream in February.

Zito ponders winter without Hialeah

Nick Zito has been here this week, overseeing his second string of 23 horses at Churchill. Zito, who for years has trained his top horses at Hialeah in the winter, said the recent closing of the historic track for training has him concerned. He has been assigned 29 stalls at Gulfstream.

"I'm not going to go crazy about it like some people are," said Zito. "We're going to see how it all plays out, that's all."

Mutuel clerks lose lovable lender

Hugh "Tommy" Able, a mutuel clerk at Churchill since 1978, died Monday at age 86, leaving some of his colleagues wondering what they will do when they will do the next time they get in a temporary financial pinch.

For years, Able wore a button on his necktie that read, "I Lend Money," and he meant it. For a negotiable fee, clerks could borrow from him, especially at day's end after betting and losing "out of the box," as it is known in the business.

Mutuels officials finally made Able stop wearing the button, but clerks knew where to go. "He was like a dutch uncle," said clerk Joe Haming. "He'd say, 'Now Joe, you're betting over your head.' He was something else."