12/03/2005 12:00AM

Laurel: Cherokee's Boy cruises

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Travis Dunkelberger guides Cherokee's Boy to his 12th stakes win in the Jennings at Laurel.

Returning on short rest wasn't the least bit of a problem for Cherokee's Boy.

One week after easily winning a seven-furlong allowance at Charles Town, the 5-year-old Cherokee's Boy dominated five rivals to win the $75,000 Jennings Handicap at Laurel Park.

Ridden confidently by Travis Dunkelberger, Cherokee's Boy ($2.80) used a short burst of speed to take the lead between two horses with a half-mile remaining and drew off by 6 1/4 lengths without being asked for his best run the final eighth. He completed 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:52.49.

It was the 12th stakes victory in 40 career starts for Cherokee's Boy and his fifth added-money triumph this season. The $45,000 winner's share of the purse boosted his earnings to $969,866, which ranks him 16th on the all-time list of Maryland-breds.

Dave Picarello, who co-owns Cherokee's Boy with Foard Wilgus, said the horse will wait until 2006 to resume his chase toward the $1 million milestone.