07/01/2010 12:00AM

Rematch set in Clarendon Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Lonesome Cherokee and Molinaro Handsome, who ran one-two in a maiden race, will meet again Saturday at Woodbine in the $150,000 Clarendon Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.

Lonesome Cherokee was bet down to 2-1 when he debuted in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special May 30. He dueled three wide on the lead before edging away late to prevail by three-quarters of a length over Molinaro Handsome, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 48.

Trainer Laurie Silvera said Lonesome Cherokee, a son of Patrol, has already exceeded his expectations.

"To tell you the truth, the horse is by a sire who I positively hate," said Silvera. "He has been a total surprise. I took him to Florida, and from the first time I stepped him up a furlong or two, he looked like a runner."

Silvera said Lonesome Cherokee has trained forwardly since his debut.

"He has come back and worked very well," said Silvera. "I expect him to be pretty solid in this stakes. He's got a good temperament. He won't have any difficulty going the five and a half furlongs."

Molinaro Handsome battled up front along the rail before finishing a clear second in his May 30 debut. He subsequently graduated in a romp, leading throughout a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special, and was awarded a respectable 70 Beyer.

Trainer Ross Armata said Molinaro Handsome showed signs of being a nice prospect just before his opener.

"The work before he ran was pretty good," Armata recalled. "I didn't push him, so he did it quite easily, and then we knew there was something more to him than we had seen before. And then he ran to it, and he improved a lot the second time. I'm not really hard on them [early], so they tend to get better second time out. Hopefully, he'll continue to improve."

There are 10 maidens in the 12-horse field of Ontario-breds, including Ojibway Signal and first-timer starter Sensational Slam.

Ojibway Signal closed for fifth before galloping out strongly when he debuted in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden dash for Ontario-sired stock June 13. A son of freshman sire Niigon, he is bred to run long.

Sensational Slam has been working quickly at Saratoga for trainer Todd Pletcher, who sent out the talented 3-year-old Exhi out to win two stakes here in the spring.