03/08/2007 1:00AM

Hemingway’s Key overdue for a win


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Hemingway’s Key, third in both the Preakness and Jim Dandy Stakes last year, will try to win his first race in more than a year when he tops a field of eight older horses in Saturday’s $65,000 Challenger Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs.

Hemingway’s Key, a Notebook colt, will be making his second start of 2007. In his first start of the year, he rallied well along the inside to finish second in a second-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs.

Hemingway’s Key won his first two starts as a 2-year-old in the fall of 2005 but has not won since. He raced in seven straight graded stakes during his 3-year-old season, facing the likes of Bernardini, Barbaro, Showing Up, Jazil, Corinthian, and First Samurai. It would be no surprise to see the Nick Zito trainee break through with a big effort here.

Leading rider Daniel Centeno picks up the mount at 116 pounds.

Cherokee Prince has met top company in his two starts of the meet, both on turf, and led into the final furlong of the recent $150,000 Tampa Bay Downs Breeders’ Cup. He will be attempting to win his second straight Challenger. Last season, Cherokee Prince followed a similar schedule as he came off a sixth-place finish in the Tampa Bay Downs Breeders’ Cup to wire the Challenger field at 29-1.

Mike Allen returns at 116 pounds.

Several others in the field bear watching, including the winner of last season’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Championship Stakes, Bushmills Best, a horse that trainer Kirk Ziadie had high hopes for last season. Bushmills Best came off a long layoff recently to finish second in a third-level optional claiming sprint at seven furlongs.

Another who will no doubt get some attention at the windows is the Bill Mott-trained Istan, who led into the final furlong of a mile allowance race at Gulfstream before being overtaken by Lawyer Ron.

Whos Crying Now, who sports career earnings of $662,948 and was sixth in Lawyer Ron’s February allowance win, was a solid stakes performer at middle distance last season.

All I Can Get working strongly

All I Can Get, who turned in a strong effort when second to Any Given Saturday in the Sam Davis Stakes, was given his second solid work since that race on Tuesday as he continues to train smartly for a possible start in next Saturday’s Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.

All I Can Get worked six furlongs in 1:14.80. He broke off at the half-mile pole and worked around two turns. He was timed for his first half-mile in 47.20 seconds.

On Feb. 27 the Gerald Bennett-trained All I Can Get smoked through a five-furlong drill in 59.20, while covering his first half-mile in 46.40. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.

Bennett said he is also considering 3-year-old stakes in Illinois and Kentucky for All I Can Get.