09/18/2003 12:00AM

Limitless sky for Dixie High


POMONA, Calif. - A county fair is not a typical launching pad for one of the country's top 2-year-old fillies, but an exception will be made Saturday at Fairplex Park.

Dixie High, whose brilliant maiden victory placed her among the division elite, towers over nine rivals in the $100,000 Barretts Debutante. Assuming she reproduces her Sept. 1 victory - a six-length Del Mar frolic that earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96 - Dixie High could turn the 6 1/2-furlong Barretts into a virtual walkover.

Although trainer Adam Kitchingman said he knew Dixie High "was something special a long time ago," it took two starts for the filly to provide corroboration. Third in her Aug. 3 debut behind Hollywood Story and Victory U. S. A., Dixie High exploded her second time out. After a blazing half-mile in 44.98 seconds, Dixie High motored home by six lengths in a quick 1:09.81. Among juvenile fillies this year, Dixie High's Beyer Figure of 96 ranks second only to the Del Mar Debutante figure of 99 that was earned by Halfbridled, the current Breeders' Cup favorite.

Kitchingman admits that he and owner Bill Peeples have considered the Breeders' Cup for Dixie High. "She looks like she will go long," the trainer said. "She's very rateable - she just does what she is asked to do."

Dixie High was purchased by Peeples for $85,000 at the Barretts March sale of 2-year-olds in training, making her eligible for the Saturday stakes. The Barretts Debutante is restricted to 2-year-old fillies who were offered for sale at Barretts.

Dixie High's familiarity with five-eighth-mile racetracks gives her an advantage beyond the fact she is simply the fastest filly in the race. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Anet, she has trained at Fairplex, and on bullring tracks in Utah before her debut. Aside from her speed, Kitchingman said the filly is "built like a colt. I love fillies that look like boys."

The biggest problem for Kitchingman was finding a rider to substitute for Pat Valenzuela. While few jockey agents called, bloodstock agents have not left Kitchingman alone. "My phone is ringing off the hook, but only with people trying to buy [Dixie High]," Kitchingman said.

Kitchingman, 29, is a native of Australia who has been in the United States for six years. A former assistant to Eric Kruljac, Kitchingman is seeking his first stake win as a trainer.

Dixie High's rivals in the Barretts include She's Gottogetaway, upset winner of the Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar with a Beyer of 76. Other entrants include Miss Bleus Clues, Cookie Crumbs, Blowing Bartok, Double Dance, Solar Fire, Tapatio, Absolute Nectar, and Ruling House.