08/30/2007 12:00AM

Palanka City follows winning blueprint


Owner William Stiritz and trainer Terry Gestes won the Bassinet Stakes last year at River Downs with favored Devil House, a filly entered off back-to-back victories in a maiden race and the Bassinet prep.

Saturday, Stiritz and Gestes will be represented again in the $100,000 Bassinet with Palanka City, a speedy filly whose triumphs in a July maiden race at Arlington Park and the Bassinet prep will make her one of the favorites among a field eight 2-year-old fillies entered in the six-furlong race at the Cincinnati track.

Much like Devil House, whose Bassinet score was the third of five straight wins that opened her career, Palanka City has shown herself to be highly precocious, and following her 1 1/2-length triumph over Kadira in the Aug. 12 Bassinet prep, she figures as the one to catch Saturday.

"She might've got a little tired last time, but she's trained really well since then," said Gestes. "She's going into this race pretty dang good."

Kadira, second as the 9-10 favorite in the prep, looms the main rival. Owned by Carl Pollard and trained by David Vance, who won the Bassinet and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies seven years ago with Caressing, Kadira figures to take plenty of wagering action once again.

The rest of the Bassinet field is Dreabons Legacy, Hurricane Bernie, The High Queen, La Wildcat, Bamboo, and Ready to Rock. Of those, Dreabons Legacy looks like the most logical threat for a mild upset, especially if you note her runner-up finish in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs while forgiving her seventh-place finish in her lone subsequent start, the July 25 Schuylerville at Saratoga.

The Bassinet is the 12th race on the Ohio 7&7 program. First post at partner track Thistledown is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

Monday marks first Cradle on turf

Entries for the $200,000 Cradle Stakes on Monday, closing day, were to be drawn Friday. Racing officials were expecting a field of eight to 10 2-year-olds, with Old Man Buck, Cherokee Triangle, and Robbing the Bank among the likely favorites.

This is the first time the 1 1/16-mile Cradle will be run on the turf. The race has been redesigned as a prep for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, which will be run for the first time Oct. 26 at Monmouth Park.