06/23/2003 12:00AM

Gimmeawink takes Nick Shuk

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A change in tactics made a big difference for Gimmeawink in Monday's $75,000 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park.

Sent to the front by jockey Rodrigo Madrigal Jr., Gimmeawink ($21.20), the longest shot in a field of six 3-year-olds, went wire to wire in the 1 1/16-mile stakes to defeat 1-2 favorite Cherokee's Boy by 1 3/4 lengths.

Madrigal, who had ridden Gimmeawink when he finished second and fifth in a pair of two-turn stakes at Delaware, said trainer Tim Ritchey suggested the colt would run better if asked for more early speed.

"In his last two starts, I did not get him in the race early, and it seemed like he lost interest," Madrigal said. "So I got him in the race early, and he just dragged me around the oval."

Gimmeawink covered the distance over a fast track in 1:43.46. Seven horses scratched when the race was taken off the turf.

Cherokee's Boy, eighth in the Preakness and third in the Grade 3 Leonard Richards at Delaware on June 14, did not display his usual late kick.