07/14/2010 5:28PM

Rice has three threats available for Seabiscuit Stakes


The people running Suffolk Downs have always celebrated boom times with stakes races. That usually means the Massachusetts Handicap, but since times haven’t been so flush recently, the track will hold a 75th birthday party Saturday with two sprint stakes.

Suffolk opened its doors July 10, 1935 and two years later welcomed its first national star when Seabiscuit won the 1937 Mass Cap. The Depression-era champion will be honored with a $75,000 stakes at five furlongs on turf along with the $75,000 James B. Moseley Stakes at six furlongs on the main track, honoring the late track chairman who helped revive racing in Boston in 1992.

A turf sprint stakes usually attracts a familiar troupe of specialists and the Seabiscuit is no exception, with three entrants for trainer Linda Rice, the leading trainer at Saratoga last summer and long an expert at handling horses going short on the grass.

Rice sends out the gelding Awakino Cat as well as mares Ahvee’s Destiny and Lady Rizzi. Awakino Cat is looking to snap a five-race losing streak going back to two listed stakes wins at Saratoga last summer. Channing Hill is named to ride.

Ahvee’s Destiny exits a victory in the $100,00 Satin N Lace Stakes over the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs on June 8. She was cross-entered in an allowance race on Thursday night’s card at Presque Isle.

Lady Rizzi won the Buckland Stakes at Colonial Downs in her last start June 19 and has top Suffolk jockey Winston Thompson named.

Trainer Scott Lake counters Rice with two entrants, the graded stakes winner True to Tradition and Ju Jitsu Jax, but Ju Jitsu Jax is cross-entered in the Moseley, where he is the track’s morning-line favorite at 9-5.

True to Tradition snapped a nine-race losing streak dating back to an upset in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in the fall of 2008 with a starter allowance score at Philadelphia Park on June 22.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is using the Moseley as the 4-year-old return for Everyday Heroes, off since last October after chasing the likes of Munnings, Quality Road, Custom for Carlos, and Capt. Candyman Can throughout 2009.

Everyday Heroes started his career with four straight wins, including the Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs last year at Pimlico, but he is 0 for 3, including an eighth-place finish in last summer’s Grade 1 King’s Bishop, since being purchased by Sheik Mohammed’s Darley Stable.

Ju Jitsu Jax already owns two stakes wins this year. He won the Webb Snyder at Charles Town in April and the Changing Times at Penn National in May. Ju Jitsu Jax narrowly missed winning the Charles Town Dash in his last start June 19 behind the rising star Immortal Eyes.

Southern Rainbow, a former New England champion and third in the Moseley in 2008, brings a three-race winning streak into this year’s race for owner-trainer Charlie Assimakopoulos.

In addition to the stakes races, the anniversary party features appearances by retired jockeys Chris McCarron, Jerry Bailey, and Abby Fuller-Catalano as well as local politicians, including Boston mayor Tom Menino.