08/27/2003 11:00PM

Cetewayo figures on firm turf

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Half-brothers Cetewayo and Bowman Mill, both trained by Michael Dickinson, are among the 10 runners in Saturday's $337,200 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap, a 1 1/2-mile turf race at Woodbine.

Grade 1 winner Cetewayo, a 9-year-old with more than $1.1 million in earnings, has been well beaten in each of his last two starts and hasn't raced since finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap Feb. 16.

Cetewayo's last competitive race came here Oct. 27 in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Handicap, in which he finished second to Strut the Stage while leaving Man from Wicklow a neck behind him in third. Even though Cetewayo ran a dynamite race over soft ground in the Sky Classic, Dickinson believes Cetewayo prefers firm turf. "He does not like soft turf," Dickinson said.

Bowman Mill, a 5-year-old with just seven career starts, returned from an 11-month layoff to finish second in a third-level allowance at Philadelphia Park Aug. 12. He has yet to win a stakes race, but finished second in 2001 to Navesink as a 3-year-old in a Grade 3 race at Delaware.

"Bowman Mill is an underrated horse," said Dickinson, who won the 1996 Breeders' Cup Mile here with Da Hoss. "He was second to Navesink, the year that horse ran fifth in the Breeders' Cup Mile. There's a lot of improvement in him. He's just coming to peak form."

Four other United States shippers were entered in the Grade 2 Niagara - Dr. Kashnikow, Better Talk Now, Revved Up, and Jack's Own Time. The locals are Strut the Stage, Portcullis, Stage Classic, and Mark One.

Strut the Stage, the 123-pound highweight, will likely be favored under rider Todd Kabel. He finished second when he came off a long layoff in the Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap, and recently captured the Grade 2 Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes while defeating Perfect Soul, who went on to finish a close fifth in the Grade 1 Arlington Million.

Revved Up shattered the course record for 1 1/2 miles at Delaware when he led throughout a minor stakes race July 20, and has the highest Beyer Speed Figures in the Niagara field.

Portcullis, the 2002 Breeders' Stakes winner, was an impressive come-from-behind winner of the allowance prep for the Niagara.

Better Talk Now finished a close second last time out, in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. Jack's Own Time recently finished third behind 2002 Canadian International winner Ballingarry in the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes Breeders' Cup Handicap at Arlington.

THE FIELD

Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap

Purse: $337,200; 1 1/2 miles (turf); Grade 2

PPHORSEJOCKEYWT.ODDS
1Mark OneR. Landry11230-1
2CetewayoD. Clark1186-1
3Bowman MillJ. McKnight11115-1
4PortcullisS. Callaghan1178-1
5Strut The StageT. Kabel1235-2
6Dr. KashnikowR. Dos Ramos 11810-1
7Better Talk NowR. Douglas1159-2
8Revved UpP. Husbands1183-1
9Stage ClassicC. Montpellier11430-1
10Jack's Own TimeE. Ramsammy11310-1

* Odds by Ron Gierkink