08/10/2006 11:00PM

Proctor barn back in thick of it


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - People used to tease trainer Tom Proctor about selling his soul to the devil. After Proctor won the 1994 Breeders' Cup Distaff with the improbable longshot One Dreamer, his stable did not flourish to the extent he had hoped for, giving friends a chance to claim good-naturedly that he was still paying a stiff price for his proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

These days, however, things are looking up for Proctor. Besides training for Glen Hill Farm, the successful owner-breeder operation that produced One Dreamer and many other standouts, he has picked a handful of new clients, most notably the Cleveland-area's Elisabeth Alexander.

Proctor said he has "six or seven" horses in training for Alexander, for whom he began training nearly a year ago. One of those horses is Cryptoquip, who romped to an apparent victory in the July 22 Queen City Oaks at River Downs, only to be stripped of her win after the race was declared no contest because of a gate malfunction.

"They're running that race again Sunday at River, but we're not in because we don't agree with how the whole situation was handled," said Proctor, whose stable is split between Arlington and his primary base, Churchill Downs. "We believe the horses whose gates didn't open just should have been declared non-starters, and the race let stand as it was."

Proctor said Cryptoquip will run instead next weekend in the $100,000 Arlington Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race for which nominations were expected to be released late Friday.

Another top runner Proctor has for Alexander is Bridge Game, a Giant's Causeway filly who looked good in winning a maiden special weight turf route Thursday at Arlington Park. And then there is Therecomesatiger, whom Proctor trains for owner-breeder Charles Patoon. Therecomesatiger showed uncommon grit in winning the Aug. 5 Sea O'Erin at Arlington by a head. Therecomesatiger earned his second straight triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure, a 101, in the Sea O'Erin.

"We're thinking about trying him next in that Canada race in mid-September," said Proctor, referring to the Grade 1, $1 million Woodbine Mile on Sept. 17. "That'd be like his Breeders' Cup. But probably the more realistic option is the Red Bank at Monmouth," a Grade 3, $150,000 race on Sept. 2.

Proctor has been a mainstay of Midwest circuits for the past 15 years or so after moving away from his longtime base in Southern California, where his late father, Willard, was a training legend. Last year, Proctor enjoyed his best year since 1994 when his stable earned more than $1.6 million. This year, the stable is on pace to match or exceed that total.

Fifteen Rounds back from break

Fifteen Rounds worked for the second time since running third as the 1-5 favorite July 15, breezing five furlongs Friday in a minute over a fast Arlington strip.

Fifteen Rounds, a 6-year-old gelding who has won 14 races and $425,420 in 27 starts, actually was shipped out of Arlington "for about a week" after the loss, said trainer Christine Janks.

"He went to our little farm in Barrington to just lounge around and take some of the stress off," said Janks. "He seems to have come back really well, like the time off was good for him."

Janks said Fifteen Rounds will make his next start in the $150,000 Arlington BC Sprint on Aug. 26, a race he won last year.