10/18/2001 11:00PM

Miss Seffens has chance to solidify top position


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Seldom are there singular defining moments. The evolution of the most respected horse in any given division in any given region tends to happen over time, in the busy context of day-to-day racing, when no one can stop to think and say, "That's it!"

Such has been the case with Miss Seffens and her gradual ascendancy to the top of the Midwest's filly-mare sprinter division. Over the last decade, Meafara, Morris Code, Bourbon Belle, and Hurricane Bertie have been unassailable in that niche. Miss Seffens may not quite yet belong in that elite class, but she seems well on her way - and the $100,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland Sunday will give her a terrific opportunity to prove herself worthy.

"She's the best horse we've ever had," said Steve Wren, who for 12 years has been the private trainer for Kaaren and Hayes Biggs, a prominent northwest Arkansas couple who have been active at horse sales for years. "I don't know who's around here right now to challenge her, but that's not for us to worry about."

This circuit also is home to Nasty Storm, a 3-year-old filly who has won two ungraded stakes in Kentucky this fall. But the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America long has been the divisional showcase in this region in the fall, and it is clearly Miss Seffens's race to lose Sunday.

Six others were entered in the six-furlong race. New York invader Cat Cay and the peaking Spanish Glitter appear to be her strongest challengers. Miss Seffens, a 4-year-old Dehere filly who has won 11 of 21 starts and nearly $480,000, was sharp in winning the Storm Cat Stakes here Oct. 7, so it should take a top effort to topple her.

Wren, 49, said Miss Seffens will race again next year, saying the Holiday Inaugural at Turfway Park will be her last start before a vacation of several months.

"We'll get her ready for the spring and hope to do races like this all over again," he said. So far this year, Miss Seffens already has won three stakes and nearly $240,000.

The nine-race Sunday card also includes five allowance races. After Sunday, Keeneland goes dark before racing resumes Wednesday. The 17-day meet ends Saturday with an abbreviated card before the Breeders' Cup simulcasts. Live action on the Kentucky circuit shifts Sunday to Churchill Downs.