09/26/2005 11:00PM

Fraser ready for life as a journeyman

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Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTOS
Revved Up is one of three possible starters for Christophe Clement in the Sky Classic.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The prospect of life without the "bug" isn't the least bit intimidating to apprentice rider Corey Fraser.

"Mentally, I'm not affected by it at all," said Fraser, after making his rounds with his agent, Lorne Spearman, here Tuesday morning. "I'm more excited about it, if anything."

Fraser has just a couple more days to contemplate his upcoming status as a journeyman rider, which will kick in with Saturday's card.

"It's an inevitable thing," Fraser said. "It's the way the business goes. It's not like you've been playing hockey in Triple A and you're going to the NHL. You've been playing in the NHL - it's still the same people, the same tactics.

"You're still striving to be a great rider," Fraser said. "That's an ongoing journey."

Fraser was Canada's champion apprentice jockey in 2004, riding 66 winners here and one at Fort Erie despite missing six weeks due to an injury.

"I wanted my percentage to be a bit better last year," said Fraser, who finished with a win rate of 14 percent. "But my goals have been accomplished with the apprentice allowance. If I'd had it for three years, things wouldn't have been going good. I'm leaving with an awesome percentage."

Fraser entered the current week with 105 victories at this meeting, second only to the 111 wins recorded by fellow apprentice Emma Wilson and 25 ahead of third-place Patrick Husbands. Fraser had ridden in 544 races, second only to Wilson's 720.

Fraser also has visited the winner's circle with eight of 29 mounts at Fort Erie this year to bring his overall win rate just shy of 20 percent.

There have been highlights aplenty, including three stakes wins with Top Ten List and one with Believe in Missy. Despite being unable to claim the apprentice allowance in stakes races, Fraser has ridden in 29 stakes this year.

Fraser's stakes appearances have included the first two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown, as he finished sixth in both the Queen's Plate and Fort Erie's Prince of Wales with Granique.

Fraser also has ridden three winners on a card on no fewer than seven occasions this year.

"It's been a phenomenal year altogether," Fraser said. "There hasn't been a bad part about it."

King still in hospital with internal injuries

Jockey Robert King remained in nearby Etobicoke General Hospital on Tuesday after suffering a lacerated liver and broken ribs when he was kicked by his mount before last Wednesday's first race.

King was initially diagnosed with bruised ribs and sent home on the night of the accident, but a follow-up examination revealed the true nature of the damage.

"There was some internal bleeding, and they kept him there to make sure he'd be okay," said Don Parente, King's agent. "It's too bad. It was a real fluke accident.

"We're just happy he's okay. He'll be out of action for three to five months."

King, 41, had returned to race-riding this spring for the first time since 1995 after spending the last seven years as a trainer.

From 233 mounts at Woodbine this year, King compiled a record of 14-22-29 for earnings of $523,432. He also rode 31 races at Fort Erie, with a ledger of 5-5-8 good for $58,244 in purse money.

Cruise gets three-day suspension

Jockey Garry Cruise will serve a three-day suspension, Thursday through Saturday, for his ride aboard Tia Rose in last Saturday's fifth race.

Tia Rose finished second but was disqualified and placed ninth after the stewards ruled that Cruise had come in with his mount during the stretch run, interfering with Flashy Pink.

Clement has three Sky Classic nominees

A pair of graded stakes races will be on tap here this weekend, with the $250,000 Mazarine the feature on Saturday and the $300,000 Sky Classic Handicap the highlight of Sunday's card.

The prospective field for the Grade 3 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies, includes stakes winners Arravale, Knights Templar, and Silent Course.

New York-based trainer Christophe Clement, who often holds his cards close to the vest, is expected to be represented in the Grade 2 Sky Classic for 3-year-olds and upward at 1 3/8 miles on turf.

Clement's nominees for the Sky Classic are Revved Up, who won the Grade 2 Niagara at 1 1/2 miles in his last start here; Relaxed Gesture, a close third in the Grade 1 Man o' War at 1 3/8 miles last time out; and Islero Noir, a European import who has yet to start in North America.

Relaxed Gesture was assigned 122 pounds for the Sky Classic. Revved Up would carry 119, and Islero Noir was weighted at 117.

* Woodbine's main track was closed for the second consecutive morning on Tuesday due to muddy conditions caused by heavy recent rainfall. The training track was open for business.