07/06/2005 11:00PM

Pembroke Hall out for repeat at his distance


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Fort Erie's quarter-mile specialist Pembroke Hall will attempt to become a repeat winner in the $50,000 Rocket Man at Calder on Saturday.

The Rocket Man, a two-furlong stakes, is the opening race of the Summit of Speed program at the Florida track. Eight sprint stakes worth a total of $1.9 million will be run.

Pembroke Hall, 8, was a 2-1 favorite when he captured last year's Rocket Man by a head. It was his 10th consecutive victory, all at two furlongs. Since then, he has won once and has had two seconds in three more attempts at the distance.

Trainer Debbie Rombis claimed Pembroke Hall June 14 for her Against the Wind stable. All the two-furlong dashes at the Fort are being run at the $12,500 level this year.

"I've only had him three weeks," said Rombis. "I don't know him very well, but he seems to be in great order. It's a tough venue trying him in a stakes first time off the claim. But it's the reason we claimed him."

Also going in the Rocket Man is Thats the Problem, who outnodded Pembroke Hall in his last start. Thats the Problem, who has won 5 of his last 6 starts, is trained by Noel Randall and will be saddled Saturday by Calder trainer Frank Carlisi.

Randall wasn't unhappy with drawing post position 1, noting that Pembroke Hall won the race from that post last year.

"I expect big things," said Randall.

Both runners will have Canadian riders. Jerry Baird will be on Thats the Problem, and Martin Ramirez, aboard for the big win last year, will partner Pembroke Hall.

Randall strikes again

Randall scored with Cobra Star at the Fort on Tuesday. That makes it 4 wins and 2 seconds in 6 Fort Erie starts for the Woodbine-based trainer.

Woodbine's leading rider, apprentice Emma Wilson, took Cobra Star from last place for the victory. It was Wilson's first win here in seven starts at the meet. Her first career victory, on Aug. 28, 2004, came on this oval.

A day of firsts for Harvey and his filly

It was a first for trainer Daniel Harvey, 44, here on Tuesday when a filly he trains, Wheaton Line ($43.60), won the third race.

Harvey, a native of Jamaica, was making his debut at the Fort, and Wheaton Line was making her first lifetime start. It was also Harvey's first win in Canada. He had trained for three months at Woodbine in 1998.

Wheaton Hall was bred by her owner, Hunter Reilly of Florida.

"This horse was at Woodbine last year and got hurt," said Harvey. "She was sent back to Ocala. I was at Hunter's farm, and I had her from the first of January, and I prepared her there."

Harvey is at the Fort with five horses, and he is expecting more from Florida soon.

Ezra returning after ban

Having served a 100-day suspension, Daryl Ezra, who trained Fort Erie's horse of the year the last two years (Ashagio in 2003 and Lucky Tec last year) will return to training on Saturday.

Lucky Tec had tested positive for acepromazine, a tranquilizer forbidden on race days.

"I will have seven of my own, plus anything I pick up from owners," said Ezra. "Ashagio will be back shortly. He's been training on my farm, where he's been lugging my 175 pounds."