10/14/2008 12:00AM

Calder stakes possible for Strait of Mewsina


STICKNEY, Ill. – Jockey E.T. Baird and trainer Larry Rivelli both said the same thing in the winner’s circle shortly after Strait of Mewsina had scored a 19-1 upset in the Hawthorne Derby here on Saturday: The long-winded turf horse was likely to be a better racehorse next year at 4. Still, Rivelli said Tuesday morning that Strait of Mewsina was likely to get one more race during his 3-year-old season, with a start in the Dec. 12 McKnight Handicap at Calder penciled in as a likely spot.

The $150,000 McKnight would pit Strait of Mewsina against older horses, but it’s the time of year when that’s increasingly inevitable for a 3-year-old. And, the colt’s connections believe, at 1 1/2 miles, the McKnight should play to Strait of Mewsina’s strong suit – stamina.

“That should be enough space between races for him,” Rivelli said. “He came out of the race really good.”

Rivelli said he is taking 20 horses to winter at Gulfstream Park while leaving about the same number here at Hawthorne. Strait of Mewsina will be among the Florida-bound contingent, and could train on through the winter if he runs to form in the McKnight.

“I don’t know if he’s the kind of horse that turning him out would be a good idea,” said Rivelli, who trains Strait of Mewsina for owner Richard Ravin.

Another big price comes in

Strait of Mewsina paid $41.40 to win in the Hawthorne Derby, and two races later, Labar paid $63.40 to win in the Mary Keim Illinois Owners Stakes, another race over the Hawthorne grass course. But Monday’s winner of the Don Ciccio, a 5 1/2-furlong overnight turf stakes, topped them both. That would be Yankee Injunuity, who split horses with a decisive late run, and won the $53,250 Don Ciccio by a half-length at 33-1, paying $68 to win. All three longshot winners rallied from far behind the early leaders, a trend that held throughout last week’s turf racing here.

Yankee Injunuity was ridden to victory by Jose Ferrer for trainer Jim McMullen and owner Encore Racing Stable. Holding for second was pacesetting Chihulykee, with Rock Gold, another late runner, a decent third. The race’s major disappointment was the Irish import Myboycharlie, who never got involved in the race and finished last of 12 as the 8-5 favorite in his United States debut.

Stakes win was trainer’s sixth in career

Labar’s surprising victory in Saturday’s Illinois Owners Stakes provided her trainer, Ricky Lindsay, with a rare stakes victory. Lindsay has won 184 races from 1,831 starters, but Labar’s was just the sixth stakes win of Lindsay’s training career.

Labar definitely ran the race of her life winning Saturday’s $75,000 stakes, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 89, 14 points higher than her previous top Beyer Figure on turf.

Labar’s win also was part of a decent weekend for jockey Junior Alvarado, who won two races Saturday and another Sunday. Alvarado achieved surprising success after moving from Calder to Arlington earlier in the summer, but his Hawthorne meet started slowly. Alvarado’s win total has increased to seven, putting him seven wins behind co-leading jockeys Tim Thornton and Chris Emigh entering this week’s action.

Waxing tops field of seven in allowance

Hawthorne has had a surprising number of open allowance races make it onto race cards this fall, but there are no such races on Thursday’s nine-race program, which is “headlined” by race 3, an Illinois-bred entry-level allowance route.

This race drew only seven entries, and appears to be led by Waxing, who hails from the barn of leading trainer Mike Reavis, a six-time winner at this meet through Monday’s racing. Waxing made his two-turn debut here in the first race on Sept. 28, and though he was beaten seven lengths by the winner, Waxing still held for second while racing against what might have been a mild outside bias.

Also back Thursday are the third- and fourth-place finishers from that race, Tribute to Tom D. and Cape Konerko.