07/21/2005 11:00PM

Riding for Sam-Son gives Cruise an Act II

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Soaring Free makes it two straight Ontario Jockey Club wins last year.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Garry Cruise's first riding stint at Woodbine ended in a blaze of controversy after the stewards ruled he had obtained a license as an apprentice jockey under false pretenses.

But the Ontario Racing Commission apparently has decided to forgive and forget, as Cruise has been granted a jockey's license and will begin his comeback here Sunday.

"It's nice to be back," said Cruise, whose two mounts Sunday include Burst of Fire for Sam-Son Farm in the $343,200 Chinese Cultural Centre Stakes.

On Aug. 19, 1998, Cruise, who had officially changed his name after being born Colin Campbell, was suspended indefinitely by the Ontario Racing Commission stewards for falsifying his riding record on his apprentice jockey's application.

One day earlier, Cruise had been apprehended at Fort Erie by Ontario Provincial Police and Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials. He was deported to his native Scotland on a California-related matter on the same day the stewards issued their ruling.

Cruise first rode in North America in 1997 at Grant's Pass in Oregon and went on to compete on the California fair circuit and at Bay Meadows before relocating here in the spring of 1998.

In recent years, Cruise has worked for a number of outfits, and also married a Canadian. His wife, Jennifer, works for local trainer Sue Leslie.

Sam-Son Farm has employed Cruise as an exercise rider, both here and in Ocala, Fla. He is on the barn's payroll and therefore will not be allowed to ride for other outfits in races in which Sam-Son horses are entered.

Fred Scott, who represented Cruise in his first go-round here, again will be the jockey's agent.

Soaring Free goes for three-peat

Soaring Free has won the last two runnings of the Ontario Jockey Club, a seven-furlong turf race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and upward, and will be odds-on to take this year's renewal on Sunday.

The only difference is that the base purse for the Ontario Jockey Club has been reduced from $100,000 to $75,000, and Soaring Free will run coupled with stablemate Surging River. There are no couplings in races worth $100,000 or more.

There are eight runners in the Ontario Jockey Club, which will have a gross purse of $81,000.

Mobil staying on grass

Mobil, who missed by a neck as the runner-up in last year's Chinese Cultural Centre, will be looking to go one better in Sunday's Grade 2, 1 3/8-mile turf feature.

A 5-year-old owned and bred by Gustav Schickedanz and trained by Mike Keogh, Mobil is coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 King Edward, a 1 1/8-mile turf race here July 3.

Before that, Mobil had finished an uncharacteristic sixth as the favorite in the Eclipse over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

"He stumbled and grabbed his quarter real bad there," said Keogh. "He's never done that on turf. We thought we'd keep him on turf to protect his feet. He's training nicely."

Last Answer returning

Keogh will have a second Chinese Cultural Centre entrant in Last Answer, who will be making his first start since finishing off the board at Gulfstream on Feb. 16.

Last Answer, a 5-year-old gelding, was entered in a fourth-level allowance on Thursday but the race did not fill.

"He's been working extremely well," said Keogh, noting that Last Answer had breezed six furlongs in 1:12 here last Saturday after drilling a mile in 1:38.80 six days earlier.

Last Answer won the Chief Bearhart over 1 1/4 miles on yielding turf here last October.

Turf debut for Just in Case Jimmy

Just in Case Jimmy breezed three furlongs in 38.40 seconds on the turf training course here Friday morning and will be racing on grass for the first time in the Chinese Cultural Centre.

"I've always wanted to run him on turf, and I know he'll like the distance," said Roger Attfield, who trains Just in Case Jimmy and is a co-owner along with Bill Werner.

"On the turf, he might stay a little bit closer."

Just in Case Jimmy, a 4-year-old gelding, is winless in four starts this season but has picked up checks on each occasion, including a third-place finish in the 1 1/4-mile Dominion Day last time out.

Gamblers Slew headed to Saratoga

Gamblers Slew, who faltered to finish last of five as the odds-on choice in the Toronto Cup here July 16, is slated to make his next start in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam at Saratoga on Aug. 7.

The Amsterdam is a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds. Gamblers Slew had been seeking his third straight turf win in the 1 1/8-mile Toronto Cup.

"I honestly think he's a better dirt horse," said Jody Hammett, who trains Gamblers Slew for Herbert Chambers. "He got to run on hard turf twice and didn't mind it.

"But on soft turf, against true turf horses, he never handled it whatsoever. He was stumbling, and switching leads."

While the turf officially was firm for the Toronto Cup, times for turf races that day suggested softer going.

"He came out of the race excellent," said Hammett. "It didn't take anything out of him."

Ready and Alluring to Monmouth Oaks

Ready and Alluring will make her next start in the Aug. 14 Monmouth Oaks, owner-breeder Bill Sorokolit said Friday. The Grade 3, $200,000 Monmouth Oaks is a 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

Ready and Alluring, based at Belmont with trainer Randy Schulhofer, shipped up to finish second in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 12 and returned to Fort Erie to capture the 1 1/16-mile Bison City in her last start July 4. Those races are the first two legs of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

The final leg is the $250,000 Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race here next Sunday.