10/07/2006 12:00AM

Ah Day finds sprint, slop no problem


Ah Day offered further proof that he's as versatile as he is durable when he cruised to a 2 1/4-length victory over a sloppy track in Saturday's $80,750 Sonny Hine Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 3-year-old Ah Day ($5.60), second choice in a field reduced to five by two scratches, moved to challenge pacesetter Nine Best and stuck his head in front with a quarter-mile remaining, and opened up a three-length lead in deep stretch.

Steve Hamilton, picking up the mount for the injured Jonathan Joyce, urged Ah Day to the wire to hold off a late bid by Lemons of Love. Nine Best was 12 3/4 lengths farther back in third. The winning time was 1:10.64.

New York shipper Songofthesailor beat only one horse as the 4-5 favorite. He inherited the favorite's role when Fabulous Strike, the 7-5 morning-line favorite, scratched in order to run in the Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

The win raised Ah Day's record to 3 for 3 on off tracks and 6 for 13 this season. Trained by King Leatherbury, Ah Day is now 7 for 15 lifetime, including 5 for 9 at Laurel, where he previously won the one-mile Deputed Testamony and the six-furlong Horatius. He was making the cutback from 1 1/8 miles on grass for the six-furlong Sonny Hine.