09/04/2006 11:00PM

Cherokee Prince all the way in Labor Day


Cherokee Prince, a 6-year-old gelding who made his first 17 starts on dirt, is well on his way to making a new career for himself on turf.

Taking advantage of the rails being set out 21 feet, favoring speed horses, Cherokee Prince ($25.20) set an uncontested modest pace of 48.26 seconds and 1:12.31 for six furlongs en route to a 2 3/4-length win in the $75,000 Labor Day Stakes.

It was Cherokee Prince's third win in six grass starts, and his second stakes.

Yucatan, a Kentucky-based sprinter, drew almost even with the pacesetter at the eighth pole before Cherokee Prince drew off, covering the mile on firm turf in 1:37.09. Donald's Pride finished third.

Tiganello, the 8-5 favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher, was no factor and finished sixth.

Pletcher won the co-featured $75,000 Summer Finale for fillies and mares when Stormina ($8), ridden by Jose Espinoza, made a big move up the rail on the far turn and drew clear by five lengths. Her time for the mile was 1:37.49. Stormina, based at Belmont Park, also shipped in to win Mountaineer's Firecracker on July 3.

Island Escape finished second, 2 1/2 lengths in front of Charles Town shipper Miss Hamma.