06/07/2007 11:00PM

Cotey's entrants fit nicely


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Dave Cotey will take two shots at Sunday's $125,000 Victoria Park Stakes at Woodbine when he runs Strike Impact and Angel of the House in the nine-furlong event for 3-year-olds.

Strike Impact showed some promise at 2, but was a disappointment in his first three starts this year. He finished 13 lengths back in his penultimate race, a dull effort that Cotey attributed to an illness.

"We didn't realize it at the time that he had a high white blood cell count and was sick," Cotey said. "When he came out of the gate, he twisted his front shoe right off. With the dirt hitting him, and him being sick, he didn't try one iota."

Strike Impact improved dramatically in his first try around two turns May 19, winning a first-level allowance by 5 1/2 lengths.

"I couldn't wait to run him long, and he didn't disappoint us," said Cotey. "He just likes galloping in his works, and he has a real nice burst of speed. I think he's a route horse like his mom, and like all his [half-siblings]."

Angel of the House won his season opener in an allowance sprint, and was a closing third most recently in the 1 1/16-mile Marine Stakes.

"I thought he ran a very good race," said Cotey. "There was a slow pace, and he just hung the last little bit."

Cotey, who won the 2003 Victoria Park with Pants N Kisses, believes both of his entrants have a chance.

"I like both horses," said Cotey. "I think the distance will favor Strike Impact, but he has to prove it."

Five others were entered in the Victoria Park, including Approval Rating and Forbidden Bear.

The Mark Casse-trained Approval Rating might be the favorite off his runner-up placing to front-runner Sahara Heat in the Grade 3 Marine.

"Throughout the whole race, I had my eyes on [Sahara Heat]," said Patrick Husbands, who rode Approval Rating in the Marine. "I knew he was the one to beat. I think I probably moved my horse too soon, but it was a chance I had to take."

Forbidden Bear figures to be forwardly placed in his first start beyond six furlongs. He hasn't started since finishing third in the Aprilo21 Woodstock Stakes.

"He worked a mile in 1:42.40," said trainer Reade Baker. "He's bred to go long, and I don't see why he wouldn't."