07/05/2001 12:00AM

Thistledown: Full field of juveniles


NORTH RANDALL, Ohio - The $40,000, 5 1/2-furlong Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes will match Ohio-bred 2-year-olds at Thistledown.

A full field of 12 will contest the Kindergarten, and Harlan's Holiday may leave the gate favored. A colt by Harlan out of Christmas In Aiken, Harlan's Holiday was second in his career debut at Churchill Downs on June 19 and has worked twice in Kentucky for trainer Kenneth McPeek. He appears to have the speed to set the pace and will be hard to chase down.

Under the allowance conditions of the race Harlan's Holiday will carry 115 pounds. Tony D'Amico, who began his riding career here, will come to ride.

Highland Rim should prove to be the horse to beat. A Launch a Leader gelding, Highland Rim was an impressive winner in his second start at River Downs after finishing second there in his debut.

Highland Rim has a high turn of early foot and should offer a strong argument for the early fractions. The weight assignment is also 115 and regular jockey Rhonda Collins will ride for W. John Bourke, who bred, owns, and trains Highland Rim.

Truth Matters won at first asking here June 23 and is another who likes to run on or near the lead. Trainer Jerry Sparks has engaged the riding services of Scott Spieth for his horse, who also will carry 115 pounds.