09/19/2001 11:00PM

Dr. Kashnikow gets to run


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After two postponements, Dr. Kashnikow will finally lead the field in Saturday's $150,000 Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Handicap.

The gelding has been biding his time waiting to follow up his sharp victory in the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 25. This is his third entry into the 1 1/16-mile turf race after two cancellations last week because of the World Trade Center attacks. It is his second start for trainer John Fisher following a private sale. He has never been off the board in his career and never out of the money over the grass.

"We thought he was a real nice horse, and we loved his pedigree," said Fisher. "What do you know, it turned out we were right. I've had plenty that didn't turn out this well. He has a high cruising speed and can handle speed well. We've been concentrating on this race. He really passed his main test in the Fourstardave so we haven't really been looking too far beyond this race. But if he were to really come up there and win handily, we might think about something even bigger for him."

Trainer Bill Mott dominated the New Jersey graded turf races in 2000. He has a two-pronged plan in search of his first stakes win in the state this year. Stokosky is the likely starter, but he will be part of an entry with Strategic Mission pending weather and course conditions.

Stokosky, who drew the outside post, is making his first start since finishing fourth in an allowance last June at Belmont Park. He won the Tropical Turf Handicap at Calder last year, then finished a very close third in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup in February before going off form.

New Jersey-based Scagnelli is looking for his third straight victory against several familiar faces. Like Dr. Kashnikow, Scagnelli has been consistent, finishing in-the-money in all but one race over the past two seasons.

Sardaukar will look to make amends for his disappointment in the Bob Harding Stakes behind Scagnelli, where he failed to get involved while trying to follow up a win in the Bet Twice Stakes in July.