12/28/2007 12:00AM

Rutherienne in her banner-year finale

EmailMIAMI - Christophe Clement calls Rutherienne "one of the best fillies I've trained in a long time." That is high praise indeed from a man who has orchestrated the careers of such outstanding fillies as Coretta, Danish, Voodoo Dancer, and, more recently, Royal Highness and Vacare.

Rutherienne will close out her outstanding 2007 campaign on Saturday at Calder when she goes postward the favorite against 11 other 3-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes on the turf. The Grade 3 Genter highlights a Grand Slam III program that includes three other stakes valued at $100,000 apiece.

Rutherienne has won 7 of 9 starts in a career that began at Calder as a 2-year-old with two victories, including a three-quarter-length triumph in the Cherokee Frolic Stakes. Rutherienne, a homebred daughter of Pulpit owned by Virginia Kraft Payson, has won 5 of 7 starts at 3, highlighted by her two-length triumph in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks.

The 7 1/2-furlong Genter will be Rutherienne's first start since she turned

in the only poor performance of her career, a 10th-place finish as the 8-5 favorite

in Belmont's Grade 1 Garden City Stakes on Sept. 8.

"The pace was slow that day, then they came home in 46," Clement said. "She was very rank and got killed racing near the rear of the pack. She came back lame, with major cuts and bruises everywhere. Then a few days later we found a splint. I gave her some time off and she's been training very well since starting back.

"We'll put her away until the spring after this race. Believe me, she's not just an okay horse. She's a very good horse. One of the best I've ever trained."

Rutherienne's chief opponent in the Genter should be Pitamakan, who comes into her local debut off a third-place finish in Keeneland's Grade 3 Valley View Stakes on Oct. 19 and a seventh in the Grade 3 Pucker Up at Arlington. She broke from post 12 in both of those races. Pitamakan won three races in a row this summer, one at Churchill and two at Arlington Park, going wire to wire each time. She drew post 10 for the Genter and figures to take some catching in her first race at shorter than 1 1/16 miles.

Pitamakan is trained by Bill Mott, who will also send out Sweet Ransom. She will race coupled with Snow Cone as the Live Oak Plantation entry. Snow Cone is trained by Marty Wolfson.

Other key contenders include Street Sounds, who was overmatched against Grade 1 company in her last two starts, and Cozzi Capital, Dattts Awesome, and Pretoria Light.