07/21/2005 11:00PM

Turf the key for Fierce Cat


After two authoritative wins on the turf at River Downs in May, including a victory in an open three-other-than allowance, Fierce Cat appeared to have for the taking the statebred grass stakes at River Downs this summer.

But that was then, and has been anything but fierce in three subsequent starts. Fierce Cat officially hit bottom earlier this month when he was last of 14 in the Cleveland Gold Cup on the main track at Thistledown. Fierce Cat will seek redemption Sunday when he returns to the turf to face 10 Ohio-sired and -bred rivals in the $40,000 Horizon Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.

Fierce Cat's performance at Thistledown can probably be looked past as he has been ineffective on the main track this season. Two starts ago he finished third in a $40,000 claimer on the Churchill turf, his best race in defeat this season. That try came on the heels of a dull sixth-place finish in the Green Carpet Stakes on the turf at River, where Fierce Cat was the 3-2 favorite.

Another attempting to rebound from a poor effort is Cleveland Gold Cup ninth-place finisher . In his previous start, the Green Carpet Stakes, Brooks Blach faded to fifth after pressing the early pace. A son of Grade 1 grass winner Academy Award, Brooks Blach may have the most upside of those moving back to the turf for the Horizon.

The mother and son team of trainer Kris Nemann and jockey Nathan Solomon, which won the Hoover Stakes last week with Acts Like a King, will be represented in the Horizon by Hero Act. Ineffective in two grass starts earlier in the meet, Hero Act has shown marked improvement in recent allowances on the dirt and might be more effective now with additional experience under his belt.