11/29/2004 12:00AM

One Smooth Ride a cheapie no more

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
One Smooth Ride was a surprise entrant in the Display Stakes - and a surprise winner, too.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The Dave Cotey barn enjoyed a steady diet of winners last week, taking a race a day on the Wednesday through Sunday programs.

But the one that went down best was One Smooth Ride, who scored an upset in Saturday's $137,500 under regular rider Constant Montpellier.

One Smooth Ride was a surprise entrant in the Display, having raced the previous Saturday, finishing a closing third in his fourth career start - a first-level allowance at seven furlongs.

"I thought he ran a real nice race there," said Cotey, "and it didn't take anything out of him. He was like a wild horse all week, bucking and squealing in the shed row."

Cotey had nominated One Smooth Ride to the Display and saw no reason not to run.

"I wanted to get a two-turn race into him," said Cotey. "Con said he'd never got to move him when he wanted to, and at two turns, he could settle him when the time was right."

One Smooth Ride stuck to the script and, with Montpellier contributing a flawless ride, rallied from last place in the field of five to win the Display by a widening 3 3/4 lengths and pay $21.40 in a five-horse field.

The winner's share of $82,500 boosted One Smooth Ride's bankroll to $107,753 and represents another coup for the bargain-conscious Cotey, who also owns the colt under the name Dominion Bloodstock in partnership with Derek Ball and Hugh Galbraith.

A Kentucky-bred by Victory Gallop, One Smooth Ride had gone through the Keeneland September yearling sale for $3,000 and was purchased privately by Cotey for $5,500 in September.

One Smooth Ride's only previous win was for a $32,000 claiming tag, in his second start here Sept. 2, but even in retrospect Cotey does not feel he was taking an undue risk that day.

"He was a cheap yearling; that would scare people," said Cotey. "Plus we work out horses very conservatively, to say the least."

One Smooth Ride soon will be heading to nearby Huntington Stud Farm, where he will spend the winter along with the rest of Cotey's stock.

"I think he'll be a lot better 3-year-old," said Cotey. "He's a horse that wants to run on.

"He loves the action; he wants to be a racehorse. We'll just have to see how good he is; we'll have to see if he improves."

Cotey to keep runners busy

Cotey has vaulted into 10th place in the trainer standings with 32 victories, and he hopes to have 12 to 15 more entrants through the final two weeks of the meeting.

"I'm not scared to run them back," said Cotey. "The horses are feeling really well and in good order.

"They can have all winter to take their time off," he said. "The ones running back I won't bring back until later next spring."

The Cotey returnees likely will include Chasing the Fox, who is among 17 nominees to the Kingarvie Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-olds on Dec. 12.

"We know he can go two turns," said Cotey. "We'll put him in there and take a shot."

Chasing the Fox, in for a claiming price of $32,000, won his maiden by a neck at 1 1/16 miles with Montpellier up here last Friday.

"Con said he felt great, and the first two were eight lengths ahead of the other horses," said Cotey.

Dave the Knave mulls Kingarvie

Dave the Knave also could be headed for the Kingarvie after capturing Saturday's supporting feature, the $104,000 Sunny's Halo, in just his second career outing.

Owned by his trainer, Bob Tiller, in partnership with Frank DiGiulio, Dave the Knave was purchased for $25,000 at the local select yearling sale.

The fact that Dave the Knave is a half-brother to Forever Grand, a multiple stakes winner for Tiller and DiGiulio, was the prime reason for the purchase.

"He didn't look like Forever Grand at all," said Tiller. "To buyers, he wasn't too attractive. He had kind of a crooked front leg."

Dave the Knave came to the racetrack in June, and Tiller was not looking for much in terms of a 2-year-old campaign.

"I wanted to get some miles into him," said. Tiller. "I thought he'd probably buck his shins or something. Any sign of trouble and I was going to stop on him. But he kept going forward, developing on the go."

Dave the Knave made short work of Ontario-sired opposition in his debut at Woodbine Oct. 6, winning a six-furlong race by six lengths. He passed an acid test when he won by a hard-fought neck over Out of Africa in the Sunny's Halo, a 6 1/2-furlong race for Canadian-breds.

And although Tiller has not made a final decision on Dave the Knave's participation in the Kingarvie, he believes the race's two turns are within the gelding's scope.

"He's turned into a big, long-striding horse," said Tiller. "And, I really think he hasn't done his best this year."

Not the first 'Knave' at Woodbine

Longtime observers of the local racing scene might recall a previous incarnation of Dave the Knave, a multiple stakes winner who raced here and in Montreal for trainer John Annesley in the late 1960's and early 1970's.

"I remember the horse very well," said Tiller, 54. "When I first came around the track, as a young boy, I had 'mutuelitis' at the time.

"I remember cashing a very good ticket on him."

Tiller also recalls that one of Dave the Knave's frequent riders was John Bell, who now is a jockey agent with Todd Kabel and Jim McKnight as his current clients.

* Jockey David Clark will serve a three-day suspension, Wednesday through Friday, after withdrawing an appeal of an earlier ruling.