04/10/2007 12:00AM

Showing Up to make '07 debut in Maker's Mark


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Arguably the leading turf horses in both the male and female divisions in North America this year will be in action this weekend at Keeneland in terrific lead-ins to the track's premier event, the Blue Grass Stakes.

Showing Up, the Lael Stables colt who dominated fellow 3-year-old turf rivals last year, will make his seasonal debut Friday in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile, while Wait a While will make her second start of the year in the Grade 2 Jenny Wiley Stakes on the Blue Grass undercard Saturday.

Showing Up, trained by Barclay Tagg, was assigned post 8 among nine older horses entered in the $250,000 Maker's Mark Mile, the featured ninth of 10 Friday races at Keeneland. Showing Up won 7 of 9 starts at 3, and Tagg said he has been pleased with how the colt has trained toward the Maker's Mark Mile. Last Friday, after the first race on the opening program of the Keeneland spring meet, Showing Up breezed six furlongs over the turf course in 1:14.10 with regular rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard.

If Showing Up isn't ready to show his best, then any of a handful of Maker's Mark rivals appear capable of a mild upset. Among those challengers are Kip Deville, winner of the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in his last start; Remarkable News, a winner in 7 of 12 career starts; Sky Conqueror, a Canadian standout with multiple graded wins; and Bayeux, the Kilroe Mile runner-up.

From the hedge, the entire lineup for the Maker's Mark is Free Thinking, Sky Conqueror, Bayeux, Storm Caller, Old Dodge, Purim, Remarkable News, Showing Up, and Kip Deville.

Meanwhile, Wait a While figures as a solid favorite in the $200,000 Jenny Wiley, especially since Bobby Frankel has informed Keeneland officials he has decided not to run Price Tag, the Juddmonte Farms filly who captured the Grade 1 Matriarch last fall. In her place, Frankel plans to run Precious Kitten, the half-sister to 2004 turf champion Kitten's Joy, in the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley.

Wait a While, owned by Arindel Farm, has developed into a true sensation since being switched over to grass by trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old gray filly by Maria's Mon swept three straight graded stakes before entering the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf as the second wagering choice behind the eventual winner, Ouija Board. Wait a While incurred her lone defeat from six career turf starts when fourth in that race.

In her seasonal bow, Wait a While was an easy winner of the Grade 3 Honey Fox on March 4 at Gulfstream Park.

Besides Wait a While and Precious Kitten, other probables for the Jenny Wiley include Mauralakana and Rich Fantasy. Only seven or eight were likely to be entered Wednesday, according to Keeneland stakes coordinator Tyler Picklesimer.

A third graded stakes also was to be drawn Wednesday for Saturday: the Grade 2, $400,000 Commonwealth Breeders' Cup for older horses at seven furlongs on Polytrack. At least eight were expected for the Commonwealth BC: Deep Canyon, Half Ours, Lewis Michael, Old Dodge, River City Rebel, Ryan's for Real, Silent Name, Steel Light, and Straight Line.