Sir Cherokee Returns With Victory at Churchill

(from Churchill Downs notes)
Trainer Mike Tomlinson is eyeing stakes competition for Domino Stud's Sir Cherokee after Thursday's successful return to competition by the winner of the 2003 Arkansas Derby (gr. II).

The 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run scored a three-quarter of a length victory over a "sloppy" track in a one-mile allowance race on Thanksgiving Day. Sir Cherokee had not raced since a small fracture in his right rear ankle knocked him out of this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Sir Cherokee tired a bit in the final yards, but Tomlinson said that jockey Terry Thompson kept the colt a bit closer to the pace than usual in the race at the one-turn mile distance.

"He said when he passed the half-mile pole he kind of started moving him and he'd already made the front by the quarter pole," said Tomlinson. "It's pretty tough for any horse to make a half-mile run, let alone a horse coming off a layoff."

In any case, it was the result Tomlinson was looking for. It was also a relief to see the Trackside Louisville-based Sir Cherokee make a successful return to racing.

"It's a big load off your shoulders," Tomlinson said. "Everybody's watching when you've got a horse like that. You're always open to criticism when you're dealing with better horses and it's nice to know that we did have him tight enough to win and we did prepare him sufficiently to do the job. Now we're ready to move on to bigger and better things."

The victory improved Sir Cherokee's career record to 4-3-0 in 11 starts and earnings of $428,310. Tomlinson said the $100,000-added Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 1 is being considered for the colt's next start.