07/03/2002 11:00PM

McPeek duo come in hot

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - At this time last year, Ken McPeek felt strongly that he had a top-class 2-year-old filly in his barn. He was right, for Take Charge Lady developed into one of the bona fide stars of her class.

Now McPeek finds himself at a familiar stage with D'Nile and Attemptress, either of whom may start as the favorite Saturday in the $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs. D'Nile enters off a terrific maiden victory in which she lowered the track record for five furlongs to 57.14 seconds, while Attemptress rolled to an eye-opening triumph here May 19. The two fillies will be uncoupled for wagering purposes.

"They're two real nice fillies," said McPeek. "Usually if my horses win going short, they have a lot of ability because I don't put much emphasis on sprints. I like them both a lot."

D'Nile, owned by Woodlynn Farm, and Attemptress, owned by Tracy Farmer, are two of seven 2-year-old fillies entered in the Grade 3 Debutante, a 5 1/2-furlong race that lost its probable favorite, Holiday Runner, to a mild fever earlier this week.

Among the top challengers to the McPeek duo are Blues in Seattle, Vibs, and Bridget Says.

Blues In Seattle, by Seattle Slew, was highly impressive in capturing her first and only start for trainer Frank Brothers on June 9.

Vibs was a sharp maiden winner early in the meet for Dale Romans before being overmatched by male rivals in her last start, the May 27 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes.

Bridget Says makes her first start since having been purchased by Louisville-based Audubon Stables shortly after the filly easily won her career debut at Lone Star Park.

The rest of the field is Miss Awesome and Awesome Humor.

Besides the Debutante, which dates to 1895, Saturday also marks another round of the Churchill Downs Simulcast Network pick four. The $1 minimum wager consists of one race each from Churchill, Calder, Arlington, and Hollywood.

The CDSN pick four will be offered for the final time this summer on July 20, when a race from Ellis Park will displace one from Churchill.

While the Debutante is the feature of the penultimate card of the 52-day Churchill spring meet, its companion race, the $125,000 Bashford Manor Stakes, closes the meet on Sunday. Posse is expected to rule a solid favorite in the Bashford Manor.

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