08/06/2008 12:00AM

Hamm tries to continue stakes streak


Trainer Tim Hamm has a good chance of turning the hat trick in the Ohio-bred 2-year-old stakes division Friday when he sends out Raise the Reward and Astronaut in the $50,000 Cleveland Kindergarten Stakes at six furlongs.

Hamm has saddled the winners of the first two Ohio-bred 2-year-old stakes run this year - Raise the Reward in the Hoover and Slides Choice in the Tah Dah. Both stakes were run at River Downs.

Raise the Reward rallied steadily through the stretch to post a one-length win in the 5 1/2-furlong Hoover Stakes in his last trip to the post on July 13. The win was his first, following two maiden races against open company - an eighth-place finish at Presque Isle and a third here.

Raise the Reward chased down his stablemate Astronaut for the win. Astronaut, who finished second while well clear of the rest of the field, will again be his main opposition Friday. They will race as separate wagering interests.

Astronaut has finished second three times in four lifetime starts and is expected to set the pace in the Kindergarten.

The balance of the field consists of six maidens, three of whom will be making their debuts.

The lone filly in the race is Pyrite Score, who appears the most likely to upset Hamm's horses. She was an even third in the 5 1/2-furlong Tah Dah Stakes on July 26 in her first career start and will carry 112 pounds, receiving three pounds from her seven male rivals.

Australis Day ships in from Philadelphia Park where he has a fourth and second from two starts with open company.