08/04/2008 12:00AM

Ward sees Cannonball as fastest


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Wednesday's $150,000 Cab Calloway Stakes at Saratoga is coming up a little sooner and is carded at a distance a little longer than trainer Wesley Ward would prefer for his New York-bred Cannonball. Ward, though, still believes he has the horse to beat in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for statebred 3-year-olds.

"If I had my druthers I'd rather have waited a few weeks to run him back, and he's probably better sprinting than anything else over the turf," said Ward, the former rider who trains Cannonball for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey. "But I still believe the fastest horse in the field usually wins, and in this field he looks like the fastest."

Cannonball certainly qualifies as the best horse if the Cab Calloway goes as scheduled on grass. Racing primarily against open company, Cannonball captured the King Cugat Stakes and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf within a five-day span to close out his juvenile campaign, then opened his 3-year-old season finishing third behind Cowboy Cal and Why Tonto in Calder's Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby and Gulfstream Park's Hallandale Beach Stakes.

Cannonball has faced statebreds just once, rallying from midpack to capture Belmont Park's six-furlong Pebo Guy Stakes on May 31. In his last start, Cannonball was a wide-running eighth in Del Mar's Oceanside Stakes.

Doc N Roll is the only other member of the field aside from Cannonball with multiple wins on grass. Doc N Roll posted back-to-back grass victories less than four weeks apart this spring, winning his maiden by nearly 10 lengths at Aqueduct on April 23 and a statebred, first-level allowance race at Belmont by 3 1/2 lengths just 25 days later. Doc N Roll finished fourth following a very eventful trip as the 9-5 favorite against second-level allowance types in his last try.

Should the Cab Calloway move to the main track, Almighty Silver and Brookhaven's Money rate the edge.

Almighty Silver, also owned by the Ramseys, was entered for main track only by his trainer, Charlton Baker. He has finished second in statebred stakes in each of his last two starts and was upset by Brookhaven's Money in the Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Stakes on June 1.