10/06/2010 3:04PM

New draw benefits Captain Cherokee

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ELMONT, N.Y. – Though the competition got somewhat tougher, the re-draw of an optional claimer/third-level allowance race that serves as the feature on Friday’s nine-race card at Belmont Park seemed to benefit Captain Cherokee.

When originally carded for Oct. 1, this six-furlong race drew a field of five and Captain Cherokee had the rail. The race was postponed when that card was scrapped because of inclement weather.

Redrawn on Sunday for Friday, the race went with a field of eight with Captain Cherokee drawn sweetly on the outside.

“He probably got lucky going from the inside to the outside,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s very handy.”

Captain Cherokee, a half-brother to sprint champion Midnight Lute, has enough tactical speed where he could sit just off the pace or be on the lead if nobody else goes. Edgar Prado rides.

In his last start, the $109,000 Harvey Arneault Memorial at Mountaineer, Captain Cherokee raced with the pace, made the lead turning for home, but was run down by Native Ruler, a horse who was winning his third consecutive race, 14th overall and sixth stakes. Before that, Captain Cherokee won a second-level allowance race at Churchill Downs.

Go Go Shoot is one of four horses in the field entered for the $75,000 claiming price. After winning his career debut, Go Go Shoot has participated in 18 consecutive stakes, winning five. He is coming off a third-place finish in the West Virginia Chairman’s Cup at Mountaineer, a race that produced three next-out winners.

Go Go Shoot, who has speed, could get some pressure from African King, and/or Rollers, who has only made one start in a year, and that was a last-place finish in this same condition at Saratoga on July 26.

All three newcomers to the field merit respect, starting with Half Metal Jacket, who will make his first start for the white-hot Rudy Rodriguez. Half Metal Jacket finished second to Vineyard Haven in the James Marvin Stakes on opening day at Saratoga. He defeated Birdrun at this same level going a mile on June 18.

Starforaday has a strong late run, which he displayed here in June, winning at this level in his first start off a three-month layoff. Desert Key won a second-level allowance race at Saratoga the last time he raced on dirt. Most recently, he finished seventh in a turf allowance race at this level.