02/27/2003 1:00AM

Distance the big question


Cherokee's Boy has shown he can run fast. But not too far.

Foufa's Warrior has proven he can run far. But not too fast.

Cherokee's Boy, a multiple stakes winner who has yet to win beyond seven furlongs, and the unbeaten Foufa's Warrior, idle since winning the nine-furlong Maryland Juvenile Championship in very slow time two months ago, are the prime contenders in Saturday's $75,000 Deputed Testamony Stakes at Laurel Park. Cherokee's Boy and Foufa's Warrior are also the only Triple Crown-nominated horses in the field of six 3-year-olds for the 1 1/16-mile Deputed Testamony.

Cherokee's Boy has not earned less than an 89 Beyer Speed Figure in six of his last seven starts, all stakes, dating back to last September. The exception was his distant third-place finish behind Toccet in the Laurel Futurity. The Laurel Futurity was also his only start at 1 1/16 miles.

The other time he was asked to race beyond seven furlongs, Cherokee's Boy finished third in the one-mile Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs. Though beaten 4 1/2 lengths, Cherokee's Boy still earned a career-best 91 Beyer.

"I like him a little better at a shorter distance but he's got a lot of class and a will to win," said jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, who has been aboard for all three of Cherokee's Boy's stakes victories. "I know there are high hopes for Foufa's Warrior, and he is a formidable foe."

Foufa's Warrior won his only two starts, both as a 2-year-old and at Laurel. In each of his wins, Foufa's Warrior showed the ability to come from off the pace. His best Beyer, however, is a 77, which puts him about 10 points slower than Cherokee's Boy.

Brush Ahead has improved in every start of his four-race career, climbing steadily from a 70 to a 79 Beyer Figure in his last three races, all at 1 1/16 miles. Trained by Bud Delp, Brush Ahead makes his stakes debut after romping against first-level allowance horses.

for Laurel entries.

:: Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Laurel.

:: Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Laurel.