11/06/2004 1:00AM

Straight Line rolls in Iroquois

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Four-Footed Fotos
Straight Line, with Brice Blanc in the saddle, wins the Iroquois Stakes by a widening five lengths.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Bill Cartwright has been taking phone calls about selling a 2-year-old colt named Straight Line for months. To his credit, Cartwright resisted all offers, and after the colt won the $109,600 at Churchill Downs by five widening lengths Saturday, Cartwright said "only a life-changing" sum might make him pay closer attention.

That's huge bucks he's talking about. Cartwright speaks for a partnership of five well-heeled Chicago stockbrokers who co-own Straight Line with Harvey Vanier, the 80-year-old trainer whose wife, Nancy, is the other half-owner in the colt.

Straight Line, who made a winning career debut at Arlington Park in July for a $50,000 claiming price, drew off to win the one-turn-mile Iroquois as the 2-1 favorite, quite possibly stamping himself as one of the top 2-year-olds in training in North America in the vacuum of divisional supremacy created by the longshot Wilko's victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Ridden by Brice Blanc, Straight Line, by Boundary, returned $6.40 after finishing in 1:36.62 over a fast track.

Social Probation finished second, another two lengths before late-running Greater Good, the 2-1 second choice. Chief Commander and Highgrove, an uncoupled duo trained by Nick Zito, finished fourth and fifth in the field of seven.

Straight Line eagerly chased the early pace, then was placed in an outside striking position by Blanc before drawing away down the stretch.

"He's still a playboy, still learning," said Blanc. "He actually feels like he has three or four gears. I shook the reins at him and smooched to him, and he just took off."

For Harvey Vanier, whose first Churchill stakes win came in the 1970 Derby Trial with Admiral's Shield, the stakes victory was his 16th at Churchill but first since Homing Pigeon won the 1995 River City Handicap.

Norainonthisparty, the rank outsider at 44-1, tossed jockey Kevin Krigger in upper stretch after appearing to lose his action. Krigger was reported body-sore by Churchill officials but otherwise not seriously hurt.

The Iroquois is the local prep for the Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 27.