07/26/2009 12:00AM

Ah Day needs to retain a bit of his old self


Ah Day ended a four-race losing streak last time out in a high-priced optional claiming race at Delaware Park. The race was Ah Day's first outside the stakes ranks since April 2006, a span of 21 straight starts.

On Monday, Ah Day will try to begin a winning streak in the $50,000 Chesapeake Stakes at Colonial Downs. Trainer King Leatherbury thinks the 6-year-old gelding has returned to form.

"He finally looked like his old self in his last race," Leatherbury said.

Ah Day was entered for the $100,000 claiming price last time out. He came from last in the six-furlong race to win by 2 1/2 lengths, going away. He has now won 6 of 9 going six furlongs, the same distance as the Chesapeake.

Ah Day's other win this year came in his first start of the season in the Grade 3 Toboggan at Aqueduct on March 7. Earlier in his career, Ah Day was one of the top sprinters on the East Coast. In 2007, he finished second to Silver Wagon in the Grade 2 General George at Laurel and third to him in the Grade 1 Carter at Aqueduct. He has won 12 of his 29 starts while earning just under $800,000.

Ah Day's come-from-behind style should not be a problem, according to Leatherbury.

"With three speed horses in there, it should set up perfectly for him," he said.

Sheldon Russell, who was aboard for the Toboggan victory, will ride Ah Day when he faces five rivals in the Chesapeake.

"He fits him very well," Leatherbury said. "He did a great job with him in his win at Aqueduct, and I expect the race to set up much like that one."

Celtic Innis comes into the Chesapeake off a six-week layoff for trainer Tim Keefe. A 7-year-old gelding, he has been out three times this year and most recently was second in the Longfellow at Monmouth Park on June 6. Before that he was third, beaten two lengths, in the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint at Pimlico on May 16. In 2008, his lone win came in the Maryland Million Sprint on Oct. 4. Horatio Karamanos will ride.