08/29/2001 12:00AM

Sky Chariot slips into easier spot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sky Chariot, a nominee to Saturday's Grade 2 Niagara Breeders' Cup Handicap, has found a softer spot in Friday's Woodbine feature, a $62,000 optional claimer on the grass.

A 14-horse field will line up in the one-mile race, not including main-track-only entrant On the Game.

Sky Chariot won back-to-back one-mile turf races here last summer, and was beaten only three lengths when fourth in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Handicap. He was shelved by trainer Mark Frostad after the Sept. 24 Sky Classic, and was a non-threatening seventh when he resurfaced on the dirt here June 8.

Sky Chariot's two most recent efforts, both on the grass at this level, resulted in a pair of third-place finishes. He rallied wide from well off scorching fractions to be beaten a length in the first one, and came from six lengths off a slow pace to finish 1 3/4 lengths in arrears in his last race.

Sky Chariot is shortening up from about 1 1/8 miles for this engagement, and should be ready to fire his best shot in his fourth start off the layoff. Todd Kabel rides for Sam-Son Farm.

Completing the lineup are Silver Axe, Rare Sortof Devil, Canajun Cajun, Mr. Sulu, Outer Wood, Free Agent on Ice, Fastasaspeednbulit, High Speed Travel, Valid N Bold, Waltzin' Storm, Double Blue, Bold Striker, and Litunga.

Waltzin' Storm is the hot horse in the lineup, having won two in a row for trainer Mark Casse. Waltzin' Storm exhibited some promise here last September in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes, in which he finished a nose back in second while beating the talented Strut the Stage.

Waltzin' Storm was a beaten favorite in two maiden special weight races in the spring at Pimlico and Monmouth, but has come into his own since shipping north of the border. He graduated in a quick seven-furlong dash July 6, and is coming off a half-length score in a six-furlong preliminary allowance.

Patrick Husbands retains the mount on Waltzin' Storm, one of two 3-year-olds in the field.

Canajun Cajun scored at 37-1 while defeating Sky Chariot and Fastasaspeednbulit on Aug. 12. He had something left for the stretch run after pressing slow fractions that day, and prevailed by a neck over a troubled Attest.

In a field which doesn't contain much speed, Bold Striker figures to help set the pace. He led most of the way in winning a recent allowance, and hasn't missed the board in five starts this year.

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