12/07/2006 12:00AM

Moon Berry in limbo


Many of the bigger stables on the Kentucky circuit keep a string locally during the winter while sending their best horses elsewhere. At times, the players are interchangeable, depending on which horses fit what races best.

Ken McPeek has yet to decide whether Moon Berry will be better off joining his 27-horse contingent at Gulfstream Park or remaining behind with the balance of the stable at McPeek's farm, located next to the Victory Haven training center in Lexington, Ky. He will get a better idea Saturday when Moon Berry runs in the $50,000 My Charmer Stakes at Turfway Park.

"My gut feeling is she wants to go a mile and a half on the grass," said McPeek. "But she ran really well in her only try over the Polytrack last fall, so maybe she needs to stay in Kentucky all winter. We'll find out more Saturday."

Moon Berry is part of a 14-horse field of fillies and mares entered in the My Charmer, the featured 11th of 12 races. Although Moon Berry drew post 12, McPeek said the Brazilian mare's late-running style should offset the disadvantage of the far outside.

"It shouldn't be a big deal," said McPeek, who is still savoring his win with Birdbirdistheword in the $1omillion Delta Jackpot last weekend.

Moon Berry was a sharp winner of a Sept. 28 allowance at Turfway, then ran a close-up fourth in the Dowager at Keeneland before finishing sixth in her latest race, a Nov. 7 turf allowance at Churchill Downs.

"She's better than that," said McPeek. "I might've run her back a little too soon after the Dowager. She'll do better Saturday if she runs like she's trained."

Moon Berry, with Brice Blanc to ride, is one of a handful of logical contenders in the 1 1/16-mile My Charmer. Among the others are Winikins and My Chickadee, the respective one-three finishers in a tough recent allowance at Churchill; Half Heaven, a winner over Polytrack at Woodbine in her last start; and Ella Belle, a romping winner of the Wintergreen Stakes here in March.

A maximum of 12 horses can run. Caroline's Gold and Shari's Gold Sole are also-eligibles.

The My Charmer is named for the dam of the great Seattle Slew. Eyes on Eddy and Tappin for Gold won split divisions of the race last year.