12/09/2004 1:00AM

Wake at Noon no favorite this time


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Wake at Noon will make his fourth appearance in the Kennedy Road Stakes this Saturday, having won the six-furlong race in 2000 and finishing third in the following two runnings.

That experience, however, is unlikely to earn Wake at Noon much respect this time around. Favored in his previous Kennedy Road forays, Wake at Noon figures to be lightly regarded after going winless here in four appearances since his return from a stint at stud this winter.

"I don't mind going into the race as an underdog," said Abraham Katryan, who trains the 7-year-old Wake at Noon for owner-breeder Bruno Schickedanz.

Wake at Noon has performed respectably enough this fall, finishing no worse than fourth while facing the best in the local sprint division. He was beaten just a neck when he came in second three starts back.

"He's the same horse," said Katryan. "He feels good, trains as usual, and looks the part. It's all mental for him right now. He thinks there's girls around; you've just got to play with his mind."

Katryan had hoped to send Wake at Noon around two turns for his final start of the meeting, but the opportunity did not materialize.

Wake at Noon is slated to continue his career with trainer Henry Collazo at Calder, where he was stakes placed last December.

Katryan's hope: Let there be pace

Lettherebejustice, owned by Camilla Farm, will represent Katryan in Sunday's $125,000 Valedictory Handicap, the closing-day co-feature for 3-year-olds and upward going 1 3/4 miles.

A Kentucky-bred 3-year-old, Lettherebejustice was a rallying winner under second-level allowance terms here Nov. 7, but he finished fourth in the 1 1/2-mile Valedictory prep Nov. 20.

"It was unfortunate, the way the pace set up," said Katryan. "They went three-quarters in 1:17, then everybody sprinted home."

Katryan is anticipating a stronger pace for the Valedictory and believes Lettherebejustice could prevail.

"He's trained really good into this race," said Katryan. "I think he'll be tough."

Ramirez tries out Woodbine

Martin Ramirez, perennially among the leading riders at Fort Erie, moved his tack to Woodbine after the conclusion of the Fort Erie meeting. He plans to return to Woodbine in the spring.

"I like my chances here next year," said Ramirez, 40, who was the leading rider at the Fort in 1999, 2002, and 2003 and finished second in the standings this season.

After riding here Wednesday night, Ramirez was heading south for Florida on Thursday morning. He will compete at Tampa Bay Downs this winter before returning to Woodbine in mid-March to prepare for next year's April 16 opening.

In Tampa, Ramirez will ride for Woodbine-based trainers such as Greg DeGannes, Barbara Minshall, and Arthur Silvera, plus Fort Erie trainers including Tom Agosit.

Alan Raymond represents Ramirez here at Woodbine.

Maryland is Frost's winter warm-up

Les Frost, a 27-year-old trainer who hopes to make his mark at Woodbine next year, plans to race in Maryland with five or six horses this winter. His contingent, which will be based at the Bowie training center, should include Off on a Tangent, a 3-year-old filly whom he claimed for $12,500 here Wednesday, and Quick Divide, a 3-year-old gelding who could see action here on Sunday's closing program.

Off on a Tangent is owned by Aubrey Friedman, while Quick Divide races for Brian Marcy, who helped Frost get started in his new profession and gave the trainer his first winner, Eilunebs Dream, at Fort Erie last June.

Quick Divide, claimed for $12,500 here Oct. 20, has finished second in each of his last two starts.

Frost, a backstretch habitue since his early years, worked as an assistant to trainer Tino Attard when that stable's runners included champion filly Kirby's Song. Frost also worked as an assistant to trainer Robert King and to veterinarian Daryl Bonder before going out on his own.

Based at Fort Erie this year, where he trained as many as 12 horses at one point, Frost won three races.

Arch Hall scores in Sir Barton

Arch Hall ($8.50) outran 9-1 shot Cabriolass in the final furlong to post a half-length victory in the $126,375 Sir Barton Stakes here Wednesday.

Cabriolass set moderate fractions of 24.58 and 48.94 seconds while being pressed by Kent Ridge in the 1 1/16-mile event for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds. Arch Hall stalked the leaders along the inside and found room along the rail at the quarter pole before holding Cabriolass at bay through the stretch.

Kent Ridge was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Just in Case Jimmy and favored Millfleet, who both went off at 2-1, completed the order of finish. There was no show wagering.

The final time over a muddy track was 1:45.04.

Arch Hall, trained by Mark Casse for owners Eugene and Laura Melnyk, earned $75,825 in his first stakes victory.

"He had trained very well going into the race," said Casse's assistant, Ricky Griffith. "He's been maturing and growing. His attitude has gotten a lot better and he seems to be going in the right direction."

Kabel up for Manitoba award

Todd Kabel, the runaway leading rider at the Woodbine meeting and a lock for a second straight Sovereign Award as outstanding jockey, is among the Manitoba Sportswriter and Sportscasters Association's four finalists for Manitoba's athlete of the year.

The winner will be announced at the annual awards dinner at the Delta Winnipeg on Jan. 30.

Kabel, who was born in McCreary, Manitoba, and began his career at Assiniboia Downs, won the Manitoba award in 1995 and was a finalist last year.

- additional reporting by Ron Gierkink