08/31/2007 11:00PM

Cherokee Country on stakes streak


Cherokee Country will try to win his fourth stakes of the year in the $100,000 Tom Ridge Labor Day Stakes at Presque Isle Downs on Monday. A field of nine 3-year-olds will go postward in the six-furlong event, carded as the seventh of eight races.

Cherokee Country has won his last two outings, the Oh Say at Delaware on July 28 and the Anderson Fowler at Monmouth in his last out, Aug. 18. Earlier this year, Cherokee Country won the Rumson at Monmouth. With plenty of speed to the inside, his come-from-behind style should work well for jockey Ryan Barber. Trained by Ramon Preciado, Cherokee Country has won 6 of 11 starts in 2007 to earn nearly $200,000 this year, the most in the field.

The main threat to Cherokee Country is Trophy Road. A 3-year-old son of Jump Start, Trophy Road is a perfect 2 for 2 this year, earning Beyers of 96 and 97 in allowance events at Thistledown and River Downs.

Trophy Road showed much promise last year, so much that trainer Mike Maker ran him in the Cradle Stakes at River Downs. He was eased that day, but came back in the Best of Ohio Juvenile and ran second. He seems to have found sprinting to his liking this year and will be on or near the lead early with jockey Miguel Mena.

James Baker sends out Elite Squadron, an impressive winner at Churchill Downs of his first two races this year. Elite Squadron ran in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga in his last start, finishing last, but he has had a series of nice works recently. Dana Whitney will ride Elite Squadron for the first time.