08/15/2007 12:00AM

Old Man Buck wins Cradle prep


Old Man Buck punched his ticket to the $200,000 Cradle Stakes last Saturday by winning the Cradle prep. Trained by Ken McPeek, Old Man Buck led every step of the one-mile turf event and won by 5 1/4 lengths under Perry Ouzts.

A horse to watch in the Cradle will be the third-place finisher in the prep, Cherokee Triangle, who was checked repeatedly while racing next to a loose horse. Brave Knight lunged at the start and unseated Hector Rosario, then ran next to Cherokee Triangle through most of the race, forcing jockey Tommy Pompell to ride cautiously. Ari N Julius finished second in the prep.

The first three finishers can supplement to the Cradle for $3,000 and all are expected to do so. The Cradle, will be run on Labor Day, and for the first time will be at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Trainer Terry Gestes won last year's Bassinet prep and the $100,000 Bassinet with Devil House, and hopes to repeat this year with Palanka City, who bested a short field in the Bassinet prep Sunday. Originally carded with 11 fillies, the Bassinet prep scratched down to five. Palanka City and jockey Rodney Prescott led throughout, repelling the challenge of favorite Kadira in the stretch and holding a 1o1/2-length lead to the finish. The High Queen finished third under Julio Felix. All three are expected to supplement to the Bassinet for $3,000.

* The first 300 patrons to buy a program here Saturday will receive an ESPN baseball hat.