09/03/2004 11:00PM

Gin and Sin on working holiday


Horses for courses is a common expression, but how about a horse for the holidays?

Gin and Sin, who has already run in stakes on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July this summer at Mountaineer Race Track, will add the Labor Day Handicap to his personal trifecta.

The Labor Day is co-featured with the Summer Finale Handicap for fillies and mares on a program that begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. Each one-mile turf stakes is worth $75,000.

Gin and Sin, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Kentucky-based Darrin Miller, won the Memorial Day Handicap over a muddy track, but finished fourth as the 2-1 favorite in the Independence Day Handicap. He matched his career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in winning the one-mile West Virginia Speaker's Cup last month.

Three contenders who show Beyer Speed Figures in the mid-90's are Glitter Mean, third behind Gin and Sin at 31-1 on Aug. 7; Forget the Judge, a Jonathan Sheppard trainee who just missed at Saratoga in his last start; and G P Fleet, second in Kentucky in his last two races.

The field also includes 9-year-old La Reine's Terms, who was within a half-length of the lead in the Independence Day with a furlong remaining before flattening out.

The Summer Finale rematches Chance Dance and Passionate Bird, who were separated by less than two lengths as the two-three finishers in the West Virginia Senate President's Cup a month ago. Both are consistent turf performers.

Passionate Bird missed by a nose of winning her sixth race this year in the President's Cup. Passionate Bird is 3 for 4 over Mountaineer's turf, including the Firecracker Handicap in July.

Delaware: Unbeatens clash on turf

Cockleshell and Dynamite Flyer, both unbeaten in three starts on turf, step up to the stakes ranks for the first time in the $50,000 Stanton at Delaware Park. The 1 1/8-mile grass race is restricted to 3-year-olds.

Cockleshell, trained by Michael Dickinson, returned from an eight-month layoff to easily defeat first-level allowance runners at Pimlico on Aug. 26. He earned an 85 Beyer for that effort.

Dynamite Flyer, a deep closer, won two in a row at Delaware to begin his career before beating two-other-than allowance runners at Saratoga with a 93 Beyer nearly a month ago.

Several other runners have the credentials to win, including the graded-stakes-placed Commendation and Milestone Victory, unraced since New Year's Day.

Commendation has been facing classy company, picking up small pieces of the purse in the Grade 3 Kent and the Grade 3 Jersey Derby earlier this season, but has been unable to win in his last nine starts.

Milestone Victory, now in the barn of Eric Juvonen, finished ahead of Commendation when they both raced in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby on Jan. 1. Milestone Victory finished within five lengths of Kitten's Joy, the nation's top 3-year-old turf runner. He has prepped for his return with a series of slow works at Fair Hill.

Timonium: Cherokee's Boy formidable

Cherokee's Boy goes for his third stakes victory of the year in the $50,000 Taking Risks, the closing-day feature at Timonium. The 1 1/16-mile race is restricted to Maryland-breds.

The 4-year-old Cherokee's Boy, trained by Gary Capuano, won a pair of 1 1/8-mile stakes at Charles Town and most recently finished a close second in the nine-furlong Find at Pimlico.

Other contenders include Off the Glass, a 10-time winner who comes off a career-high 97 Beyer at Delaware, and Polish Pride, who figures to improve in his second start off a 14-month layoff.