06/09/2010 11:00PM

Two seeking return to better form at Colonial


Pick Six and Cherokee Artist, two turf runners whose form has gone downhill since finishing second in graded stakes earlier this year, will try to regroup against softer competition in Saturday's $50,000 Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs.

The one-mile Da Hoss attracted a full field of 14, and looks like a wide-open betting race, with the track's morning-line favorite, Cherokee Artist, listed at 4-1.

Although winless in four starts on turf, the 5-year-old Cherokee Artist handled the surface well enough to miss by a head going a mile in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Park in February. In two subsequent starts, however, Cherokee Artist has been beaten a combined 29 lengths. Trainer Graham Motion will now switch Cherokee Artist from a synthetic surface to turf, a move that last time produced the horse's strong performance in the Canadian Turf.

Pick Six is only 1 for 11 the past two seasons and 3 for 25 lifetime on grass, but he was good enough to finish second, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap at Fair Grounds in late March.

Since then, the 6-year-old Pick Six has finished far back, beaten nearly a combined 20 lengths, in two more Grade 2 stakes. The last time he raced below the graded stakes level, Pick Six finished third in a one-mile allowance at Keeneland.

Frisky Thunder, who has been first or second in 7 of 8 starts at Colonial, stretches out after missing by a neck in the track's opening-day sprint feature on May 29. Two years ago, he made the same sprint-to-route move to win a restricted stakes at Colonial going 1 1/16 miles.

Other contenders include Baltimore Bob, winner of the one-mile Henry Clark at Pimlico two starts ago, and Vanquisher, the third-place finisher in the Grade 3 Col. Bradley at Fair Grounds in January, making his first start since early April.