10/04/2006 11:00PM

Ah Day switches up again


In an era where Thoroughbreds are lightly raced and carefully spotted at their best distance and surface, Ah Day sticks out for his sturdiness and versatility.

A 3-year-old gelding trained by King Leatherbury, Ah Day has already raced 12 times this season and won five while competing on dirt and turf at distances ranging from six furlongs to 1 1/8 miles.

The jack-of-all-trades will switch gears again when Ah Day goes from a nine-furlong turf race to six furlongs on dirt for Saturday's $100,000 Sonny Hine Stakes at Laurel Park.

The last time Ah Day made a similar route-to-sprint switch, he won a restricted stakes at Charles Town.

Ah Day will be without his regular rider, Jonathan Joyce, who sustained a fractured collarbone in a spill at Laurel on Wednesday. As of Thursday, no replacement had been named.

Fabulous Strike won two overnight stakes at Belmont Park with triple-digit Beyers, but ran poorly last time out in an experiment on turf.

Trainer Todd Beattie indicated Thursday that he's leaning toward running the cross-entered Fabulous Strike in the Sonny Hine, where he's the track's 7-5 morning-line favorite, rather than in the Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

The X-factor is Creve Coeur, who ran second in a pair of statebred stakes at Laurel last year but hasn't started since the Maryland Juvenile Championship on New Year's Eve. His trainer, Graham Motion, is adept at winning with runners returning from long layoffs.