06/02/2006 12:00AM

Ex-juvenile stars face off


The $40,000 Rise Jim Stakes is the main event on the live racing program anchoring Sunday's Hot Dog Safari at Suffolk Downs.

With Sprinkle of Gold and Reprized Strike matching up in the six-furlong sprint, the Rise Jim features a clash between the last two winners of the Norman Hall Stakes for statebred juveniles, which Reprized Strike captured in 2004 and Sprinkle of Gold won last year.

That victory, Sprinkle of Gold's third, has made finding races for him more difficult for his trainer, Michael Gorham. But the work Sprinkle of Gold has done as a 3-year-old this year has given the Delaware-based Gorham the confidence to send him home to Boston to take on older runners.

"He's kind of limited in getting races to run," said Gorham. "Because he has three wins, allowance races are much tougher, and he usually has to race against older horses. It's better to send him to a restricted race if we have to race against older horses."

Sprinkle of Gold took on older foes in an allowance race at Delaware last time and finished sixth. Prior to that he was fifth in the Horatius Stakes at Laurel behind eventual Federico Tesio Stakes winner Ah Day.

"It's been so hard to find races for him, a 3-year-old stakes like that was easier than even a high-priced claimer," said Gorham. "He's got the right disposition to take on older horses. He's still got to go out there and be a professional."

Reprized Strike stayed in New England through his 3-year-old season last year with mixed success, closing on a high note with a 12-length win in the John Kirby Stakes. He should relish the return to Suffolk after three dull races this winter at Tampa Bay Downs. Trainer Lori Lockhart has already seen him post a bullet workout since getting back to Boston.

Storm Quest was second in this race last year behind perennial Mass-bred champ Jini's Jet. The Rise Jim will be his first race at Suffolk after seven months at Philadelphia Park. He's been through five barns since then, through claims, and will now start for trainer Ron Dandy.

The Hot Dog Safari is annually one of the biggest days at Suffolk, with the grandstand turned over to dozens of hot dog, sausage, and ice cream vendors for a daylong charity event to benefit the Joey Fund fighting cystic fibrosis. Local radio personality Eddie Andelman conceived of the idea 17 years ago.