10/18/2001 12:00AM

Valley View - it's anybody's race


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Few trainers have benefited more than Burk Kessinger Jr. since Keeneland installed its turf course in 1985.

Kessinger has 11 stakes wins at Keeneland, all of them on turf. On Saturday, when the $100,000 Valley View Stakes is run for the 11th time, Kessinger will shoot for an even dozen with Peace Keeping, an Irish-bred filly who figures to be one of many contenders in a well-matched race.

Ten 3-year-old fillies have been entered in the Grade 3 Valley View, which goes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Favoritism is up for grabs in the Valley View, with Sky Alliance, a Sam-Son Farm filly, liable to take her fair share of play over Peace Keeping and the rest.

Sky Alliance was a maiden until early last month, when she won the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine. In her only subsequent start, she won the restricted Cup and Saucer Stakes, which carried a purse of $250,000 (Canadian).

Peace Keeping, by Dr. Devious, is less accomplished, having run just twice in the U.S. since being imported from Ireland this spring. After a so-so fifth in the Misty Isle at Arlington, she dominated a decent field of second-level allowance fillies at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 22.

Swift progress is quite possible for Peace Keeping, given the way her trainer always seems to come up with top-shelf turf runners.

Through last year, only nine trainers had more career stakes wins at Keeneland than Kessinger, and it is an impressive roster indeed. Led by D. Wayne Lukas's 42, the all-time list also includes Neil Howard, Ben Jones, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, Carl Nafzger, Woody Stephens, Harry Trotsek, and Elliott Walden.

Other fillies who rate as solid contenders in the Valley View are Quick Tip, who will make her career turf debut; Libretto, another Canadian invader in fine form; and Chausson Poire, a winner of her last three starts, ending with the DeBartolo Oaks at Louisiana Downs.

The rest of the field is Cozzy Corner, Sluice, Coney Kitty, La Recherche, and Twilite Tryst.

The Valley View, which has become a familiar weekend fixture sandwiched between Keeneland's major fall stakes and the Breeders' Cup, dates to 1991, when eventual Grade 1 winner La Gueriere triumphed for Wimborne Farm.

The 2000 winner was Good Game, ridden by Pat Day.

The Valley View is the eighth of nine races on a Saturday card that also has four allowance races. First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

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