06/23/2010 11:00PM

Cherokee Heaven may be overlooked


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The King Edward was shortened to one mile this year as part of Woodbine's tinkering with its turf stakes program. Sunday's first edition of the Grade 2, $300,000 King Edward at the new distance certainly won't be short on competitiveness as a field of nine was entered for the race Thursday.

Get Stormy, a Belmont shipper who is riding the crest of a six-race win streak, will attract plenty of attention as he goes postward under jockey Javier Castellano.

There are a number of locally based runners, however, who are capable of stating strong cases, including a couple who could be overlooked in the wagering.

Cherokee Heaven, who has found a new home here with trainer Brian Lynch, is one potential upsetter.

Previously based in California with Martin Jones, Cherokee Heaven shipped here for the Grade 3 Connaught Cup on May 30 and finished fourth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.

"I thought he ran good in the Connaught Cup, and he might have needed the race," said Lynch, who now is Cherokee Heaven's trainer of record. "He's trained on very well since then."

Cherokee Heaven has won twice at one mile, in maiden and first-level allowance company, and became a stakes winner going 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's downhill turf course in January's Impressive Luck.

"He's been a solid down-the-hill horse," Lynch said. "And out there, they'd say 6 1/2 furlongs there's as good as a mile."

Robby Albarado, who is town to ride Exhi in Sunday's Victoria Park, picks up the mount on Cherokee Heaven.

Exhi, a romping winner of the 1 1/16-mile Marine on May 29 in his first trip to Woodbine, looms an odds-on choice in a field of just five for the Victoria Park. The $150,000 Victoria Park is a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds.

Rahy's Attorney looks to bounce back

Rahy's Attorney won the King Edward here last year as the second choice at just under 5-2, when the race was run over 1 1/8 miles of turf. He will be a longer price this time around.

Trained by Ian Black, Rahy's Attorney is coming into the King Edward off a frustrating sixth-place finish in the Connaught Cup.

"He had a difficult trip," said Black, who trains the homebred 6-year-old gelding for Joe and Ellen McClellan and partners.

Robert Landry, who had taken over as Rahy's Attorney's regular rider last fall but was on the shelf with rib injuries and was replaced by Jim McAleney for the Connaught Cup, regains the mount for the King Edward.

Jambalaya delays his comeback

Jambalaya, off since finishing a troubled fifth in the Red Smith Handicap at Aqueduct last November, initially had been scheduled to return in the King Edward but will not be among the entrants.

"I think a mile's a little bit tough to start him off," said Catherine Day Phillips, who trains Jambalaya for her family's Kingfield Farm. "There was a mile-and-an-eighth allowance race, but it didn't go."

Day Phillips also had the option of the Grade 3 Singspiel, a 1 1/2-mile turf race here on Queen's Plate Day, July 4.

"I think a mile and a half is a little too much off the layoff," she said.

The 8-year-old Jambalaya now will be pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Nijinsky, a 1 1/8-mile turf race here July 24.

Short field for juvenile stakes

For the second weekend in a row, a 2-year-old stakes race here will go with a short field.

Last Saturday, it was the five-furlong Victoria, which attracted a field of six including four shippers and was won by Madman Diaries, owned and trained by Wesley Ward.

This Saturday's five-furlong My Dear, for 2-year-old fillies, lured just five entrants, including Final Mesa, who also is owned and trained by Ward and was one of two supplementary entrants.

Ward and trainer Steve Asmussen, who will saddle the probable second choice Mimi's Missy for the My Dear, have dominated the open local 2-year-old ranks here.

In previous years, the early 2-year-old stakes here tended to attract plenty of maidens and even first-time starters.

"I think that with the tougher competition at Woodbine, the days of running a lot of maidens in these stakes are gone," said Steve Lym, Woodbine's racing secretary and a director of racing. "There also was the virus that went around this spring. We had 2-year-old races that didn't go and lighter fields."

Of the three others who entered the My Dear, only Where's the Bedroom is a winner.

Racing Club to host awards ceremony

The Toronto Thoroughbred Racing Club will be hosting its 48th annual awards day here Sunday, honoring Ontario's top performers of last year.

Step On Up, winner of five races and $147,628 at Woodbine last year, will be the recipient of the club's signature claimer of the year award.

The father-and-son team of owner Dr. Jerry Drexler and trainer Martin Drexler will accept the award.

Other presentations will be made to Patrick Husbands, leading jockey; Mark Casse, leading trainer; Omar Moreno, leading apprentice jockey; and Melnyk Racing Stables, leading owner.

The jockey and trainer awards are based on races won, and the owner on money won.

Presentations will be made in the winner's circle following the second, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh races.

The club will be based in the third-floor Champions area, and visitors are welcome.

* Krista Carignan, who is the leading jockey at Fort Erie and rides on a less frequent basis at Woodbine, has been suspended for seven calendar days, beginning Sunday, and ordered to pay a fine of $1,000. The Fort Erie stewards cited Carignan for indiscriminate use of her whip, "deliberately striking another rider after passing the wire while riding Fiji Boy in the sixth race on June 20."

The whip violation was the third for Carignan.