11/21/2005 1:00AM

Cryptograph qualifies

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Cryptograph's win in the Woodbine Slots Cup puts him in position to stake a claim as Canada's top older male.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - When Cryptograph reeled in the front-runners to record his second straight stakes victory in last Saturday's , he earned more than the $98,640 winner's share of the $165,600 jackpot.

Cryptograph, a Kentucky-bred 4-year-old colt owned and bred by Josephine Abercrombie's Pin Oak Stable and trained by Malcolm Pierce, was making his third appearance of the Woodbine meeting in the Slots Cup.

That just happened to qualify Cryptograph for this year's Sovereign Award balloting. To be eligible for 2005 Sovereign Award consideration a horse must have made three starts in Canada this year prior to Sunday, Nov. 27.

"I kind of just thought of that after the race," said Pierce. "He's a good horse; he proved it Saturday. He was powerful against that group."

Cryptograph had been campaigning in the Midwestern U.S. before being sent to Pierce here this summer, specifically to target the 1 1/8-mile Durham Cup and the 1 1/16-mile Woodbine Slots Cup, both Grade 3 races.

After finishing second in his first local start, a classified allowance race at 1 1/16 miles, Cryptograph passed those stakes tests with flying colors. But, there is a stumbling block between Cryptograph and a Sovereign Award in the older male category.

A Bit O'Gold, a 4-year-old gelding who won two Grade 2 turf stakes this year, will merit serious consideration in the older male turf category.

A Bit O'Gold, trained by Catherine Day Phillips, also was a very impressive winner of the Grade 3 Dominion Day Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on the main track July 1.

"It's too bad we didn't have a little bit of a meeting with A Bit O'Gold earlier in the season," said Pierce.

Perhaps that meeting will occur next season as A Bit O'Gold, who will winter in Florida, is slated for a return to action next year.

That also is the plan for Cryptograph, who is scheduled to get some time off at the Pin Oaks farm in Kentucky before moving over to the South Carolina training center.

"He should be back in March, and we will get him ready for his program here next season," said Pierce.

Cryptograph was the seventh stakes winner here this year for Pierce, and the meet-leading 18th for jockey Todd Kabel.

Lemon Maid vs. Gold Strike

Pierce has another probable Sovereign Award finalist in Lemon Maid, a Kentucky-bred 3-year-old filly owned by Live Oak Plantation.

Unstarted at 2, Lemon Maid won her debut at Fair Grounds in February and proceeded to rattle off three wins in four stakes appearances here.

Lemon Maid's successes came in the six-furlong Star Shoot, the 1 1/16-mile Hill 'N' Dale, and the Grade 3 Duchess at seven furlongs.

Her loss came in the Grade 3 Selene, a 1 1/16-mile race in which she finished second to Gold Strike, whom she had defeated in the Star Shoot.

Gold Strike, a Manitoba-bred trained by Reade Baker, went on to win the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and finish third in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate.

That turned out to be Gold Strike's last start of the season, however. Lemon Maid was sidelined following the Aug. 13 Duchess.

Badge of Truth set for Display

Badge of Truth, a Kentucky-bred 2-year-old colt whom Pierce conditions for Pin Oak, could boost his Sovereign Award stock in Saturday's $125,000 Display Stakes.

The Display will be run over 1 1/16 miles on the main track, the same distance at which Badge of Truth finished second to the invading Unification in the Grade 3 Grey here Oct. 10.

In his start prior to the Grey, Badge of Truth had finished second to Bears Kid in the Grade 2 Summer over one mile on turf.

Last Saturday, Badge of Truth worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on the training track with regular rider Jono Jones in the irons.

"He's on target for the Display," said Pierce. "That could be my last kick at trying to win another stakes race here this year."

Pierce also has nominated Charming Ruckus to the Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian, a seven-furlong race for fillies and mares here Dec. 3.

Charming Ruckus, racing for Windways Farm and Quinn Stable, became a stakes winner last time out in the Jammed Lovely, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies.

"She's still doing fine," said Pierce, "but does she need to run one more time against older fillies? She went hard all winter at Fair Grounds, and went hard all summer here."

Riding, training standings update

Apprentice rider Emma Wilson remains comfortably atop the local rider standings with 158 wins heading into the final three weeks of the meeting. Wilson also leads in money won, with $6.6 million.

Corey Fraser, who lost his apprentice allowance on Sept. 30, is a solid second with 130 victories. Rounding out the top five are Patrick Husbands, with 106 wins; Jim McAleney, 105; and Todd Kabel, 98.

Sid Attard, looking for his second straight training title, is leading the way in races won with 59. Bob Tiller and Mark Casse are tied for second place, with 51 victories, with Reade Baker hot on their heels with 50. Scott Fairlie is running fifth with 45 wins.

Baker is the leader in money won with $3.8 million. Attard is next, with $3.2 million.