10/05/2006 11:00PM

Whalen doubles up on Cup


FORT ERIE, Ontario - Trainer Henry Whalen, who has two runners in Sunday's Lucky Fan Cup, averaged just one win a month for the first four months of the Fort Erie meeting.

But in September, Whalen erupted and scored five times. His nine wins match the total he had in each of the last two meets.

Whalen's profitable month began when he sent out Smiling Jordan to win the Sept. 4 Puss n Boots, the most popular of the 20 Cup races on the Fort Erie calendar.

The Lucky Fan is the final Cup race of the series. It is for 2-year-old colts and geldings that have made a start at the Fort Erie meeting. Six horses were entered.

With Keen Fox and Sleepin' Lion, both one-time starters, Whalen has a strong hand in the six-furlong race worth $30,000. His two horses are uncoupled in the betting.

"Keen Fox won quite easily first time out," Whalen said. "We're impressed with him."

Keen Fox earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 52 for his three-length victory in the seven-horse maiden optional claimer. The horse that ran second, Bees on High, finished seven lengths ahead of the runner in third.

None of Keen Fox's opponents in the Lucky Fan has a Beyer higher than 40.

"Our other guy, Sleepin' Lion, ran fourth here," said Whalen. " He was beaten one and a half lengths. He wants to go a little bit farther. The six furlongs will help."

The only runner in the field to race a distance longer than five furlongs is the Woodbine-based Lover's Quarrel, who is trained by Franz Crean. Lover's Quarrel dueled early in the six-furlong $50,000 claimer Sept. 20 at Woodbine and then faded to sixth and last.

Lover's Quarrel, who has four starts, is the most experienced runner in the field.

The main opposition to the Whalen pair might be Charlie O, who debuted at Fort Erie on Aug. 1 with a second-place finish to Lover's Quarrel. Three weeks later, Charlie O picked up his game and won a race with a nine-horse field.

Fort Erie's leading rider, Rob King Jr., was aboard for both of Charlie O's starts. He will ride him again Sunday.

• Heading into the weekend, King had a 95-71 lead in victories over Cory Clark in second-place. Clark, who will ride Keen Fox, won three races on Tuesday.