08/31/2006 12:00AM

Taletobetold must hold off Nola Star


The 14th year has been a charmed one for Eddie Kenneally. An Irish native who began his North American training career in 1993 with one win from nine starters, Kenneally has steadily upgraded his stable and is enjoying his finest year by far, largely on the strength of what his standout 3-year-old filly Bushfire has accomplished.

With $1.2 million in earnings through the first two-thirds of the calendar year, the Kenneally stable will make a rare appearance Saturday at River Downs in Cincinnati with the promising 2-year-old filly Taletobetold, who is one of the prime contenders in the $100,000 Bassinet Stakes.

Taletobetold won a tough maiden race by a neck July 15, on closing weekend of the spring meet at her home track, Churchill Downs, and despite the apparent lack of workouts since then, Kenneally said Taletobetold actually has worked "three or four times" since the win and is "training really well" toward the six-furlong Bassinet.

"The clocking crew at Churchill is short-staffed right now, and they've missed a few of her works," said Kenneally.

Taletobetold is one of several Churchill shippers among the 11 2-year-old fillies entered in the Bassinet. The runner-up in that July 15 maiden race, Nola Star, is another of the Churchill shippers, and her trainer, Ken McPeek, said he believes Nola Star can turn the tables in the Bassinet. Nola Star made her career debut in the July 15 race, then returned to win an Aug. 5 maiden race at Arlington Park by 16 1/2 lengths.

"She could be any kind of horse," said McPeek. "She's got a ton of class and talent. I know she's got a lot to prove, but she has the tools."

Besides Taletobetold and Nola Star, the other Churchill shippers who merit a decent chance Saturday are Rapidian, also trained by McPeek, and the Bernie Flint duo of Cohiba Miss and Babes. Two years ago, Flint sent out the first-, second-, and fourth-place finishers in the Bassinet: Im a Dixie Girl, Runway Model, and Angel Trumpet.

The Bassinet is carded as the 11th of 14 races on the 7-and-7 program River shares with Thistledown.

The Bassinet leads off the three-day Labor Day weekend, which closes out the meet. The meet's highlight, the $200,000 Cradle Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, is set for Monday. The Cradle was expected to get about 10 2-year-old colts and geldings when entries were drawn Friday.