11/13/2004 12:00AM

Sterling wins three on Ill.-bred card

Four Footed Fotos
Jockey Larry Sterling guides Home of Stars over the finish line to win the $96,275 High Alexander Handicap at Hawthorne.

Hawthorne Race Course hosted six Illinois-bred stakes races Saturday, and all jockey Larry Sterling could do was win half of them.

Sterling's big day began in sunshine and ended under the lights, when he guided 7-1 Home of Stars to a 1 3/4-length win in the $96,275 . Earlier, Sterling won the Powerless with Synco Peach and the Sun Power on Humor at Last.

Home of Stars ($17.60), trained by Bobby Springer for the heirs of Russell Reineman, had never before won a stakes race, and had finished fifth in an open turf allowance race here the last time he ran. Saturday, he had to contend with the likes of defending champion Wiggins and Scooter Roach, a Grade 3 winner in his last start.

But Wiggins was uncharacteristically removed from the early pace, and his rally was only good enough for third, and Scooter Roach was never a threat.

Home of Stars was fourth down the backstretch, coming wide on the far turn to outfinish a horse more than twice his age, Magic Doe, for the victory.

Home of Stars was timed in 1:45.22 for 1 1/16 miles.

* The Grade 3 winner Toll Taker flew here from New York on Thursday, and was favored at 4-5 to win the $112,400 Showtime Deb Stakes, but her day was done a step out of the starting gate, when she stumbled terribly and threw jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. to the Hawthorne dirt. The way was cleared for Bluesbdancing ($10.80), who pressed the early pace and drew off to a 3 1/4-length win, running her record to three wins without a loss.

Toll Taker ran loose for several minutes, but appeared to escape serious injury.

"She looked like she grabbed her quarter, but otherwise she's okay," said trainer Tim Hills.

* Silver Bid ($6) missed by a neck in the 2003 Lightning Jet Handicap, but left no doubt this year, stalking the frantic early pace of Storm the Beach, taking control at the top of the stretch, and easily holding clear Big Bold Sweep's late run.

It was the 15th win in 40 starts for the 6-year-old Silver Bid, trained by Joel Berndt.

* While heavy favorite Stormy Afternoon was hung up in traffic, Humor at Last ($8) dashed to the lead in the $90,225 Sun Power Stakes. Humor at Last validated a big debut win here Oct. 17 with a 2 1/4-length win.

"I still think the horse is going to be better going two turns," said Tony Mitchell, who trains Humor at Last for Ron Armstrong and John Wallace.

He has been plenty good sprinting. Humor at Last, a Distorted Humor colt, sat in third behind dueling leaders until the far turn, when Sterling let him move up while racing three wide. As Humor at Last made the front, Stormy Afternoon was in heavy traffic, awaiting a clear run. When he found one, it was too late, but he finished well to easily get second, with Win Me Over third.

* Synco Peach flopped as the 7-5 favorite in her stakes debut last June at Arlington, but she was a sharp 2 1/2-length winner of the $111,700 Powerless Handicap on Saturday. Synco Peach ($6.60) finished ahead of Jaguar City and Fighting Fever, running six furlongs in 1:11.19.

Lamont Nienast bred and owns Synco Peach, a 4-year-old by Whadjathink. She's trained by Percy Scherbenske.

* Cashmere Miss had lost eight straight races but broke out in the $99,000 Illini Princess Stakes, beating Arsen Annie by 2 1/4 lengths. She was ridden by Carlos Silva for trainer Spanky Broussard, and paid $29.20 to win.