12/29/2007 1:00AM

Two straight stakes for Junior College

EmailJunior College, coming off a five-length score in the Bet on Sunshine Stakes over Churchill Downs's dirt course, proved similarly adept over the synthetic Polytrack surface Saturday, winning the $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park by 3 1/2 lengths.

Showing his customary early speed, Junior College pressed Reigning Court early in the six-furlong race through an opening quarter-mile in 22.05 seconds. As the field raced through the turn, he took command, carving out a half-mile in 45.06.

The race was essentially over once he entered the stretch. Cut loose by jockey Jesus Castanon, Junior College quickly opened up on the field and coasted to an easy victory over longshot Three Twenty Three, with Storm Marcopolo another head back in third.

Sweetnorthernsaint, the 6-5 favorite, turned in a lackluster performance in his first start since running second in the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 28. He was never a threat and finished sixth.

Just as he had in winning the six-furlong Bet on Sunshine in 1:08.82, Junior College again ran quickly, covering six furlongs over Polytrack in 1:09.83.

The win marked the fifth stakes victory for Junior College ($6), a 5-year-old gelded son of Ide owned by Mjaka Stables and Elizabeth Lavin and trained by Tony Reinstedler.