05/08/2005 11:00PM

Big Cheque tries to bounce back from loss


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Big Cheque will try to rebound from her poor performance in the Whimsical Stakes in Wednesday's Woodbine feature, a $62,500 optional claimer for fillies and mares.

The pick seven, which hasn't been won at the meeting, has a carryover of $39,874.82, and will encompass the entire seven-race card.

Big Cheque garnered her first slice of black type when she ran third behind Winter Garden and El Prado Essense in the Nov. 6 Ontario Fashion Handicap. She spent the winter in south Florida with trainer Henry Collazo, and on Jan. 7 finished third in a tough $75,000 optional claimer at Gulfstream.

Big Cheque came up empty three weeks later in another $75,000 optional contest, and was subsequently sent back here to trainer Abraham Katryan. In the six-furlong Whimsical, she broke about five lengths behind the field and rushed up along the rail to stalk a slow pace, then faded to finish last of nine.

Big Cheque has had two quick works since the April 17 Whimsical.

"She worked good the other day," said Katryan, referring to her five-eighths drill in 1:01.40 over the main track last Friday.

Emile Ramsammy will ride Big Cheque, who is owned by Bruno Schickedanz.

Completing the lineup for the 5 1/2-furlong headliner are Ritta, Sunadir, Cricket Wicket, and Valid Move.

Ritta could link up with Big Cheque on the front end in a fight to the finish. Trained by Ralph Biamonte, Ritta won her first two starts in the spring of 2004, including a $62,500 claimer in 1:10.60 for six furlongs.

Ritta wired another $62,500 group with an 84 Beyer Figure last August, before taking an entry-level allowance in September. In her first start of the year, on April 17, she finished a lapped-on third under apprentice Corey Fraser, who retains the mount Wednesday.

Valid Move wound up seventh behind Ritta after battling on the lead when she returned from an extended layoff. She captured the restricted OBS Sprint Stakes in March of 2004 in Florida, before disappointing here in her next few races.

Valid Move's trainer, Mark Casse, had a lucrative day here Sunday, winning a maiden race with Before Midnight and finishing second in the Fury Stakes with Time Saver.

Cricket Wicket is a speedy turf specialist who possesses a mediocre dirt record. Late-running Sunadir was climbing on the backstretch in her season opener, and is getting a little more ground to work with.