03/09/2006 1:00AM

Maker's two fillies both dangerous

Email

Becky Maker took most of her more talented horses this winter to the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida, but she knew she was leaving at least a few good ones behind at Turfway Park.

Two of those Turfway horses have made steady progress throughout the winter, and Saturday, both Listen and Cercatore will be among the deserving favorites in a field of 11 fillies and mares for the $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes.

Listen is undefeated in three career starts, all at Turfway, and Maker is as interested as anyone to see how the 4-year-old Chester House filly will fare in her first stakes and her first try around two turns in the one-mile Wintergreen.

"The plan always has been to stretch her out," said Maker, who took out her trainer's license in the fall of 2002 after lengthy stints as an exercise rider for D. Wayne Lukas and Dallas Stewart. "She ran absolutely lights out last time, so I don't think she's going to have a lot of problems with either the distance or the company."

, owned by the Springwood LLC of Kim and Rodney Nardelli, earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure when she easily won an allowance in her last start on Feb. 15.

While Listen, exiting sprints, can be expected to show early speed, Cercatore has developed an effective off-the-pace run that could save the day for the Maker stable if Listen happens to incur her first career defeat.

"Cercatore is a late-maturing filly who has just figured out how to run," said Maker, who will have her Turfway assistant, Cory Patton, saddle the fillies while she watches from Florida. "I'm really excited about getting her back on the turf in the spring. She's obviously done well on the Polytrack at Turfway, but I think she has even better things ahead on the grass."

Listen and drew alongside each other in posts 7 and 8, respectively.

Clearly the top threats to the Maker duo are (post 5), a Helen Pitts-trained filly whose victory in the Feb. 11 Likely Exchange Stakes gave apprentice Julien Leparoux his first stakes win, and Darling Daughter (post 10), most recently third in the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

The Wintergreen, named for the 1909 Kentucky Derby winner, is carded as the 10th of 12 races. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.