09/28/2006 12:00AM

Therecomesatiger back on short rest


CHICAGO ? Therecomesatiger was beaten only 3 1/2 lengths in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile. Five horses finished in front of him, seven behind, which is really not bad for a 14-1 shot. But trainer Tom Proctor is not buying any sort of moral-victory argument.

?I thought he ran dull,? Proctor said. ?He ran all right, but he was never in the race, really. I don?t know if it was the trip or something. I thought it was a race to win.?

Proctor does have a point. Therecomesatiger chugged home decently along the inside in the Woodbine Mile, but his finish wasn?t as sharp as it had been Aug. 5 at Arlington, where Therecomesatiger put up a sub 23-second final quarter-mile to win the Sea O?Erin Breeders? Cup Mile. That?s the sort of performance Proctor will be looking for Saturday, when he brings Therecomesatiger back ? and brings him back on short rest ? in the Grade 3, $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap.

Therecomesatiger was one of nine entered in the Carey, which shares the Hawthorne Gold Cup undercard with the $100,000 Indian Maid, another turf race. Present in the Carey lineup are Scooter Roach, who won the race in an upset in 2004, and Fort Prado, who was upset in the 2005 Carey.

A sprint to the finish between Fort Prado and Therecomesatiger could be compelling stuff. These are not world-class turf milers, but on their day both are solid graded-stakes horses. And Proctor thinks Therecomesatiger can produce a good race even though he started less than two weeks ago.

?I wouldn?t say that?s the best thing, but he blew out good [Thursday] morning, and he schooled good, so we?re taking a little bit of a shot,? said Proctor.

Fort Prado finished second by a neck over a sodden course at odds of 8-5 in last year?s Carey. He won three straight races this spring and early summer, but looked sharper earlier this season than in his three most recent races, the last albeit on dirt.

?If the race gets set up for him, with a little pace in front of him, he?s got a shot,? said trainer Chris Block.

There is one front-runner in the Carey, but perhaps only one, and if No Tolerance gallops out to an easy lead he might set the race up for nobody but himself.

Rich in Spirit vs. Copenhagen again

Proctor and Block may also have the top two choices in the $100,000 Indian Maid, but whoever wins the Indian Maid ? be it the Proctor-trained Rich in Spirit, or Royal Copenhagen, who makes her first start for Block ? is going to need plenty of luck. The race drew a field of 12, and on a narrow course with tight turns, good fortune may prove as beneficial as raw talent.

Both horses last raced in the Beverly D. on Aug. 12; Rich in Spirit finished fifth by 4 1/2 lengths, with Royal Copenhagen a neck behind her.

?We brought her back down to Churchill, and she seems to be doing good,? said Proctor of Rich in Spirit. ?She?s a turf horse, you know, and they don?t train much on dirt, so it can be hard to tell. She was wide both turns last time, and you can?t give up that much. She was never going to beat the winner, but a second or a third would have been great.?

The Beverly D. winner was Gorella, one of the best female turf horses in the U.S., so both Rich in Spirit and Royal Copenhagen, who was based on the West Coast before moving into Block?s barn following the Beverly D., take a class drop Saturday.

?In the Beverly D., I think she just got out-footed there,? said Block. ?Those are some of the best horses around.?

Rich in Spirit, a two-time Grade 3 winner, has tactical speed, but Royal Copenhagen tends to race near the back of he pack and rally in the stretch. The style can lead to trouble, and two starts ago, in the Modesty Handicap, Royal Copenhagen got buried behind horses.

As bad as her trip was that day, Atlantic Frost?s might have been worse. Atlantic Frost clearly had run in the stretch of the Modesty but never found a seam. Trainer Mickey Goldfine said the mare was hopping mad when she returned to the barn after the race. Goldfine scratched Atlantic Frost from an overnight turf stakes at Arlington because of wet turf, which Atlantic Frost doesn?t handle, but on a firm course she rates an upset chance.