11/22/2001 1:00AM

Lady Cherie takes on males

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GROVE CITY, Ohio - Lady Cherie, a filly, faces males in Saturday's $45,000 Ruff-Kirchberg Memorial Handicap, for Ohio-breds going 1 1/4 miles at Beulah Park.

Lady Cherie, coupled in the wagering with Ginger Daddy, has won three stakes and earned more than $149,000 this year. In her most recent start, on Nov. 11 here, she rallied from well back to finish third, beaten 2 1/2 lengths, in the six-furlong Scarlet and Gray Handicap. Saturday's return to two turns should benefit the Michael Nance-trained Lady Cherie, because each of her four wins this year have come in route races.

Regular rider Julio Felix will be in from Thistledown to ride Lady Cherie in the Ruff-Kirchberg. She will carry high weight of 120 pounds, spotting her eight rivals from two to 14 pounds.

Knight Villain, who enters off two dull efforts sprinting, could return to form. In his last try around two turns, he won the Buckeye Native Stakes at River Downs in August after dueling on the lead. Hector Rosario Jr. has a return call aboard Knight Villain, who will carry 118 pounds.

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