08/28/2002 11:00PM

McPeek's Bassinet entry has shoes to fill


The last time Ken McPeek ran something in the Bassinet Stakes at River Downs, the race became one of the most memorable of his training career.

"Grand Deed and Chelsie House ran one-two," McPeek recalled Thursday from Saratoga.

At the time, the exacta sweep in River's premier race for 2-year-old fillies was a big feather in McPeek's cap. Since then, the 40-year-old trainer has gone on to accomplish far more impressive feats, notably the major races he has won this year with Sarava, Harlan's Holiday, Repent, and Take Charge Lady.

Still, McPeek would get a kick out of seeing a repeat of his Bassinet success when he sends Clear Pouch and Fabulous Brush to River Downs in Cincinnati on Saturday for the $100,000 Bassinet. Both fillies easily won maiden races in their last starts.

"They're both coming into the race great," McPeek said.

Clear Pouch, an Aug. 8 winner at Saratoga, was being vanned Thursday from New York while Fabulous Brush, an Aug. 10 winner at Ellis Park, was to make the short van ride from Louisville to Cincinnati on race day.

"The Bassinet is a great spot to get black type for a young filly," McPeek said.

Another one-two finish could elude McPeek if Crystal Dancer, the likely favorite in the six-furlong Bassinet, runs as well as she did in the Bassinet prep. Crystal Dancer, trained by Don Von Hemel, is unbeaten in two starts after winning the Aug. 11 prep by 3 1/4 lengths.

A field of nine is entered, the others being Moonlight Sonata, Always Dreaming, Lilias Trotter, Kiosk, Miss Awesome, and Catzinga. Among them, Lilias Trotter is the most intriguing, having led all the way to win her only start, a $32,000 maiden-claiming sprint at Del Mar.

The Bassinet, which starts River's three-day Cradle Stakes Weekend Festival, is the eighth race Saturday.

Cradle Stakes news

McPeek said Risky Cat would be his lone starter Monday in the $200,000 Cradle Stakes, River Downs's annual showcase race that closes the spring-summer meet.

Lone Star Sky, who was supplemented for $12,000, figures as a heavy favorite in a field of eight or nine 2-year-olds in the 1 1/16-mile Cradle, for which entries were to be drawn Friday.

The Cradle again will be the opening leg of the America's Day pick three, a $1 minimum wager that also includes the Arlington Matron and the Del Mar Breeders' Cup.