08/23/2007 11:00PM

Stakes win picks Woods's head up


Having won a stakes race for the first time in more than five years, veteran jockey Charlie Woods Jr. is newly emboldened.

"Three thousand wins?" he asked. "I can do that. Maybe by the time I'm 87, but I'll do it."

Woods, who turns 57 next month, always has been one to joke around, so it's often difficult to determine when he's serious. But after riding Revival Ridge to a hard-fought victory in the $50,000 Regaey Island Stakes on Aug. 18 at Ellis Park, Woods truly has a new outlook. Although business has been slow since Woods returned from a two-year retirement in November 2005 - he has ridden just 23 winners since then - he believes things can pick up to the extent that another 117 winners is a realistic goal. Going into this weekend, Woods had 2,883 career victories.

"Winning that stake was an awesome feeling," said Woods, whose previous stakes win had come in Febrary 2002 at Turfway Park. "The horse was game, and it was fun to belly down and get him to hold on to win."

Woods is acting as his own agent and, like virtually any other jockey, would like more opportunities to compete.

"I haven't set any deadline to quit, and I really do think 3,000 is a nice goal to have," he said. "As long as I keep feeling good and enjoy it, I'm open for business. I'm just going to keep knocking out a few here and there and keep riding for the right people."

Golden Hare wins again

Golden Hare just keeps rolling on. The 8-year-old gelding posted another easy victory Thursday at Ellis in Henderson, Ky., in a starter-allowance turf sprint, marking his 13th win from his last 14 starts.

Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Golden Hare took the lead soon after the start, then was never hard-used in defeating four rivals. He won by 2o1/4 lengths and returned $2.60.

Scott Blasi, the longtime Steve Asmussen assistant who claimed Golden Hare last August, has said he will continue to keep the gelding in starter-allowance company until he is no longer eligible, which, at many tracks, will be through the end of the year.

Golden Hare, winner of the Claiming Crown Express in his previous start, has lost just once in 14 races since being claimed at Remington Park for $3,500 - and that defeat came this spring at Churchill Downs by a nose.

Mena, Williams to Pennsylvania

Miguel Mena and apprentice Dylan Williams are among the local jockeys headed to Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., where a 25-day meet starts Sept. 1. Asmussen is among the first trainers to have sent a string of horses to Presque Isle, as Darren Fleming is overseeing a string of 24.

Officials at Presque Isle, which has a Tapeta racing surface, have estimated that some $13 million in purses will be paid during the meet.

Two-year-olds try turf in feature

An 11-race Sunday card at Ellis includes some good races, including four maiden races and one starter-allowance.

The feature is the ninth, a $22,000 entry-level allowance for 2-year-old fillies at a mile on turf. Top contenders in the field of eight include She's No Bull, a dominating winner of her only start, and Sassy Shore Breeze, an Eddie Kenneally-trained filly trying turf and two turns for the first time.

Meet winding down

There is just one more stakes race this summer at Ellis: the $50,000 Tri-State Handicap on Sept. 1. The Dade Turf Classic, formerly run on closing weekend, no longer exists.

Ellis closes Labor Day, Sept. 3. Two days later, Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., begins its fall meet. Kentucky Downs, the turf-only track in Franklin, Ky., runs a six-day meet starting Sept. 15.