03/21/2007 11:00PM

Cherokee Prince coming off solid effort


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Cherokee Prince, who led to the final furlong of the Challenger Stakes in his last start, gets a slightly easier group to deal with Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs when he tops a field of eight in a $25,000 overnight handicap at about one mile.

Mike Allen will return aboard Cherokee Prince as the 7-year-old goes after his 10th win carrying high weight of 123 pounds.

Prosico, who came off a long layoff to easily win an allowance race going seven furlongs, tops the challengers to Cherokee Prince. Daniel Centeno rides at 115 pounds.

Also in the race is Tolhwin Type, an Argentine-bred who won a stakes on the turf at Kentucky Downs in his U.S. debut. Tolhwin Type will be making his first start of 2007. He has won five times on dirt in his native land. Enrique Jordan will ride Tolhwin Type at 121 pounds.

Cherokee Prince led through some very fast fractions that included a six-furlong clocking

of 1:10.67 in the 1o1/16-mile Challenger, and resisted gamely when challenged to midstretch before giving way to be third, beaten just over two lengths by Istan.

Trained by Ron Allen, Cherokee Prince last season won 4 of 9 starts, including the 2006 edition of the Challenger and the Labor Day Stakes at a mile on the turf at Mountaineer.

Prosico, who won 2 of 3 starts in 2006, rallied to win his comeback and has worked sharply since, including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 on March 17.

They came, and they bet

Top-flight horses bring out fans. That fact was demonstrated vividly last Saturday, when a record crowd of 10,539 came to Tampa Bay Downs to see what many consider to be the greatest race in the 81-year history of the track, when Street Sense outfought Any Given Saturday in the Grade 3, $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby.

It's true the figure may have been boosted a bit by the "spin" factor, as the track also offered a cooler giveaway and some fans bought more than one admission to pick up extra coolers, but the majority came for the Tampa Derby, and they weren't disappointed.

And they bet, both here and around the country, as the all-sources total handle was $10,301,106. The ontrack handle of $871,997 was down slightly from the 2006 Tampa Derby Day, but the all-sources handle showed an increase of more than $400,000 from the previous mark.