10/03/2007 11:00PM

Ex-claimer a Phoenix favorite

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - When the owner Maggi Moss claimed Indian Chant for $25,000 at Del Mar in August 2006 after the gelding had failed to win at Stockton, a fair track in Northern California, she said people thought she was crazy.

Fourteen months later, the decision can only be considered crazy smart. Indian Chant, riding a four-race win streak, should vie for favoritism with Saint Anddan in Saturday's Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland.

Win or lose, Indian Chant has developed into a stable star, winning races at Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Prairie Meadows, and Presque Isle - and earning over $317,000 for her.

Moss lost Indian Chant for a couple starts via a claim for $32,000, and she claimed him back two races later for $50,000 on the advice of her California trainer, Ted H. West.

The bulk of his success has come this year for Kentucky-based trainer Tom Amoss. Indian Chant has won 4 of 7 starts for him, also placing twice.

Amoss said it is not his training, but the racetrack surfaces in this region that have resulted in the gelding's hot streak. Prior to joining Amoss this spring, Indian Chant had run mostly over dirt tracks in California, and Amoss said the tracks there hurt his shins. Since that time, Del Mar and Santa Anita have joined Hollywood in installing more forgiving synthetic surfaces.

"His shins were always very, very tender coming off the California tracks," Amoss said. "I'd love to tell you it was something we did with him, but it wasn't."

When Indian Chant is feeling good, he is fast. Four of his last five races have resulted in Beyer Speed Figures of 104 or higher - consistently the highest in the 11-horse Phoenix.

Moss said racing plans are undecided for Indian Chant beyond the six-furlong Phoenix, a "Win And You're In" race that grants the winner a berth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. A son of Suggest, he would have to be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup, making the $150,000 Cal Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Nov. 3 an alternative, she said.

Corey Lanerie, who rode Indian Chant to a pair of victories over the synthetic Tapeta surface last month at Presque Isle, returns in the irons.

Graded stakes winners Saint Anddan and Teuflesberg head the opposition. Saint Anddan, winner of the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap, makes his first start on a synthetic surface in the Phoenix.