06/20/2004 11:00PM

Sir Cherokee out after surgery

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Sir Cherokee, the 2003 Arkansas Derby winner who has had an eventful 4-year-old season, has been taken out of training for about 30 days after surgery to remove what trainer Mike Tomlinson called "a tiny flake" from the colt's left front ankle.

Sir Cherokee, owned by the Domino Stud of Kenneth Jones Jr., had surgery by Dr. Larry Bramlage early last week and is expected to be back in time for a fall campaign, said Tomlinson. He finished third in a $75,000 handicap at Mountaineer Park in his last start June 5.

"Mr. Jones wanted everything to be right," said Tomlinson. "So we went ahead and took that tiny little chip out of there."

Sir Cherokee was sidelined 7 1/2 months with a knee injury after his 55-1 upset in the Arkansas Derby. Upon returning, the colt appeared as if he would become a force in the national handicap division when he won his November comeback at Churchill Downs and the Maxxam Gold Cup at Sam Houston in January. But some rough trips and disappointing efforts have left that promise unfulfilled, and the Mountaineer loss was the colt's fifth in a row.

Sir Cherokee, an earner of $525,810, is based at the Louisville Trackside training center with Tomlinson.

Old Deuteronomy relishes the turf

Veteran trainer Niall O'Callaghan had a productive weekend, sending out a pair of winners, including Old Deuteronomy, whom the trainer originally had hoped to transform into a top 3-year-old on the dirt. Old Deuteronomy, ridden by Robby Albarado, won a $49,100 turf allowance here Sunday.

"He's by Storm Cat out of a Seeking the Gold mare and had worked really well on the dirt, so it was kind of a no-brainer to try that," said O'Callaghan, who previously engineered successful turf-to-dirt transitions with imports such as Hail the Chief, Wiseman's Ferry, Keats, and Generous Rosi. "But obviously it didn't work out. Thankfully, he got his form back right away on the grass."

O'Callaghan and Albarado also won a maiden special weight race Saturday with Bound for Fame, a 3-year-old Boundary colt who returned $42.60 to win.

Champali may go to Saratoga

Champali, a highly impressive winner of the Aristides Handicap here Saturday, probably will remain sprinting for the near future and may show up at Saratoga, said trainer Greg Foley. The July 24 Don Bernhardt at Ellis Park is a possible next start, with either or both the Grade 2 Vanderbilt Handicap on Aug. 14 and the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 4 at Saratoga to follow, said Foley.

"If this horse is going to have some stud potential, he's got to win a Grade 2 and hopefully maybe even a Grade 1," said Foley.

Riskaverse back for Locust Grove

Riskaverse is back for more of that Kentucky money. A New York-based mare who shipped in last fall to win the Cardinal Handicap for trainer Pat Kelly, Riskaverse was scheduled to arrive here Tuesday and will start as one of the highweights and favorites in the lone stakes of the coming weekend, the $150,000 Locust Grove Handicap on Saturday.

Riskaverse, who likely will be ridden by Pat Day, was assigned 118 pounds in the Grade 3, a 1 1/8-mile turf race. Film Maker and Intercontinental were given 120 but neither is expected to start.

Other probables for the Locust Grove include Sand Springs and Noches de Rosa, each assigned 119, and Shaconage, 116.