10/31/2008 11:00PM

Two try to bounce back in Iroquois


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Forgive two horses their respective last race, and all of a sudden the Iroquois Stakes looks more promising than it might otherwise. Capt. Candyman Can and Brave Victory ran off to impressive maiden victories in New York two starts back before failing in their stakes debuts, and now they come seeking redemption Saturday in the 27th running of the $100,000 Iroquois at Churchill Downs.

The Iroquois and the $100,000 Pocahontas for fillies anchor a Stars of Tomorrow card at Churchill, with all 11 races restricted to 2-year-olds.

Lacking a stakes winner in the lineup, the one-mile Iroquois appears to have a ways to go to live up to its Grade 3 ranking, but the underlying potential in the field may wind up being its saving grace. Capt. Candyman Can, trained by Ian Wilkes, won by 7 1/4 lengths in his Aug. 13 career debut at Saratoga, while Brave Victory won by that same margin a month later at Belmont Park for trainer Nick Zito.

Capt. Candyman Can then finished sixth, beaten two lengths, in a traffic-laden renewal of the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Futurity in his only subsequent start, while Brave Victory ran seventh, beaten 14 lengths, in the Grade 1 Champagne last out.

"You'd think either one of those horses might be real tough if they ran back to their maiden wins," said Jimmy Baker, who will send out one of their challengers, Gresham.

If neither Capt. Candyman Can nor Brave Victory can rebound, it looks like Gresham, Casey's on Call, or Star of David could claim victory. Gresham, most recently third in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, will be adding blinkers "because he's run green every time," said Baker. "I'm putting the blinkers on not to add speed, but to make him focus."

Casey's on Call is unbeaten in two starts, having won an Arlington maiden race and a Keeneland allowance, while Star of David was third in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes on the Woodbine turf in his latest.

Monty's Best and Chilliness round out what will be, at most, a seven-horse field. Just Like Biscuit will scratch after suffering a minor injury in his stall Thursday.

The Iroquois is carded as the 10th race Saturday. A second Stars of Tomorrow card is scheduled for closing day, Nov. 29.