06/28/2006 11:00PM

Gold Cup goes through Fisticuff

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River Downs
Fisticuff, shown under Jeff Johnston, seeks his second straight stakes victory on Saturday.

Fisticuff should be favored in Saturday's $100,000 Cleveland Gold Cup at Thistledown, which has drawn a strong field of 12 Ohio-bred 3-year-olds, including two fillies.

Fisticuff, a gelded son of Mercer Mill, won the 1 1/16-mile Green Carpet Stakes at River Downs in his last start on June 3. The Green Carpet was taken off the grass and run on a muddy track.

In his other start this year, Fisticuff was second in the six-furlong Noonan Stakes at Beulah Park. Fisticuff has the tactical speed to be well placed throughout the nine-furlong Gold Cup. He is trained by Timothy Hamm and will be ridden by Jeff Johnston, who will come in from River Downs.

The main opposition for Fisticuff should come from Not Broke Yet, Dooze, and Dinkers Mystery.

Not Broke Yet was third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the Green Carpet after being carried wide on the first turn and battling for the lead until

midstretch. Not Broke Yet won his maiden going 1 1/8 miles at Arlington Park on May 21. He will be part of a quick early pace in this field.

Dooze was second, beaten a neck by Fisticuff in the Green Carpet. He disputed the pace all the way and gave way stubbornly. He defeated Fisticuff in the Noonan, which he won by almost 14 lengths.

Dinkers Mystery is the deep closer in the race. He rallied from 10 lengths off the pace in the Green Carpet to be beaten 3 3/4 lengths. The extra sixteenth of a mile and the expected quick pace will make him a solid threat. He has won 2 of his 3 2006 starts.

Canterbury: Six sprinters challenge Komax

The $40,000 Minnesota HBPA Sprint at Canterbury Park has the look of a Wild West shootout, with Komax playing the hot gunslinger who must stare down six talented rivals.

An 8-year-old Arizona-bred gelding, Komax has amassed more than $350,000 in earnings while winning stakes since age 3. That form has held up this season as Komax has won five straight races at three different tracks. After beginning the season in the claiming ranks and then winning an optional claiming event at Sunland, Komax journeyed to Turf Paradise, where he captured the Grand Canyon Handicap and Old Line Policy Stakes. Trainer Kevin Eikleberry then sent Komax to Denver three weeks ago, where Komax closed well late to take the Arapahoe Park Sprint carrying 124 pounds. Rash Eikleberry has the riding assignment in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint.

Papa Fuse made his first start at Canterbury when he bested eight rivals to prevail in the Shot of Gold Stakes on Kentucky Derby Day. Rested since that performance, Papa Fuse has ben given two solid five-furlong works at his Arlington base.

Celluloid Hero tries older competition for the first time, but he demonstrated his capabilities when he rallied strongly to win the St. Paul Stakes last month. Trained by Mac Robertson, Celluloid Hero also captured the Dixieland Stakes at Oaklawn in January.

Stormy Business finished third in the Bosselman Handicap in April, perhaps his best performance since winning the St. Paul Stakes last year. His recent bullet workout over the Canterbury strip suggests he could be rounding into his old form.

- David M. Miller

Fair Meadows: Jazzy Okie one to beat

Jazzy Okie is coming home. Bred in Oklahoma, she will return to racing in her home state at Fair Meadows in Tulsa after spending time at Prairie Meadows in Iowa and Arlington Park in Illinois.

Jazzy Okie should start as the favorite in the $45,000 Boomer Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares bred in Oklahoma which drew a field of 10.

Jazzy Okie last raced at Prairie Meadows, finishing second by a half-length in the $50,000 Panthers. She will shorten up in distance from a mile for the Boomer, and sharpened up by working three furlongs in a bullet 35.40 seconds on June 23.

Jazzy Okie has registered both of her career stakes wins at one turn, against colts and geldings in the Iowa Stallion Futurity at Prairie Meadows and against fillies in the E.L. Gaylord Memorial at Remington Park, both in 2005.

Kelly Von Hemel trains Jazzy Okie and has given the mount to Don Pettinger.

Leading rider Curtis Kimes will be aboard Hide N Watch, who was a wire-to-wire winner of an optional claiming race last out at Will Rogers Downs.

- Mary Rampellini