09/26/2007 12:00AM

Hard-trying 4-year-old moves up

EmailSTICKNEY, Ill. - The 1921 novel "Scaramouche," concerning the adventures of a French aristocrat, opens with the line, "He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad."

The 2003 horse named Scaramouche, on the other hand, appears to be all business.

Scaramouche is only a 4-year-old, but you could already pin the "hard-knocking" moniker on him. For starters, this Scaramouche knows where the finish line is, with wins in 7 of his 17 starts. And even when Scaramouche doesn't win, he tries; he has been worse than third only twice, and one of those off-the-board finishes came at Horsemen's Park, the tricky bullring track in Omaha.

In honor of his accomplishments - and as a positive sign for handicappers - trainer Don Von Hemel and owner Kindred Thoroughbreds have removed Scaramouche from the claiming ranks in Hawthorne's featured seventh race on Friday. The feature is for third-level allowance horses or $40,000 claimers at 1 1/16 miles on grass, and though Scaramouche has run for claiming tags in his last two starts, he is entered under allowance conditions Friday.

Scaramouche has raced only twice on turf. He faded to second after contesting the early pace in a race May 5 at Lone Star, but turned in a more impressive performance last out at Arlington, where he waited well behind a fast pace and circled the field in the stretch to win by a nose.

Scaramouche is one of 10 horses in the main body of the Friday feature - with Tiz Stormin entered only for the main track - and his price figures to be much shorter than the $19.80 he paid last out.

Also in the race are two horses who finished off their Illinois-bred allowance conditions last out at Arlington, Snapphok and Boom Boom Charlie. Boom Boom Charlie, who improved by many lengths this past summer, has won two in a row, and races close to the front. Snapphok finally cleared his second Illinois-bred allowance condition on Aug. 31, and as a deep closer needs at least a little pace help in front of him. Snapphok, however, has run well on the Hawthorne grass in the past.

Sampson's Son ran well enough to win this race in a May 19 Arlington turf allowance where he finished second, but he has made only one start since then, on July 20.