04/13/2007 12:00AM

Kip Deville captures Maker's Mark

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kip Deville overcame a three-wide trip and a tenacious rival in Showing Up to score a hard-fought victory in the Grade 2, $250,000 Maker's Mark Mile on a cool, crisp Friday afternoon at Keeneland.

The win was the third straight for Kip Deville ($11), who blossomed this winter in Southern California into one of the nation's leading turf milers. But this was his sternest test in that streak. Kip Deville was facing even-money choice Showing Up, who was making his first start of the year following an accomplished 3-year-old campaign that saw him win the Hollywood Derby and Secretariat Stakes, both Grade 1 races.

Both Kip Deville and Showing Up were prominent throughout in the one-mile race. Showing Up broke sharply, then bore out slightly on the first turn, carrying Kip Deville wider. That allowed Free Thinking to advance along the rail and take the lead, and those three had the first three placings through a quarter-mile in 24.73 seconds and half-mile in 48.76 seconds.

Showing Up and Kip Deville raced together around the turn and into the stretch, then Purim ranged up to challenge. Bayeux, between horses, desperately sought room through the stretch, but could find none.

Kip Deville, under Edgar Prado, led narrowly past the furlong pole, then maintained a slight advantage to the wire to win by a neck in 1:35.51 on a firm course. Purim was another half-length back in third, with the unlucky Bayeux fourth.

Kip Deville, 4, won the Sir Beaufort Stakes and Kilroe Mile, both one-mile grass races, at Santa Anita this winter. He has now won 4 of his last 5 races and is 8 for 16 overall. Richard Dutrow Jr. trains him for a partnership headed by Michael Iavarone's IEAH Stables.

"He's just maturing," Dutrow said. "He's sound, we're placing him right, giving him time between starts. His main goal is the Breeders' Cup Mile, so I don't want to squeeze the lemon dry this summer. We might go back out to California for the Shoemaker Mile. After I drink my fourth bottle of wine tonight, I'll figure out what my next move is."

Barclay Tagg, the trainer of Showing Up, was proud of his colt's performance.

"He was two works short, but I had to get a race into him," Tagg said. "He's a tough little horse. It's sad he lost."