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Cherokee Run heads entries for De Francis Memorial Dash


Cherokee Run and a trio of quick 3-year-olds from California and New York are among the dozen horses who were entered yesterday for the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

The actual field for the $300,000, six-furlong sprint, which is the main stakes event of the summer at Maryland thoroughbred tracks, might be narrowed by the time the starting lineup is drawn Thursday.

The Grade II Dash will be run at Laurel Race Course on July 16.

Cherokee Run is probably best-known entrant. He finished second to Prairie Bayou in the 1993 Preakness and has been hitting the board in Grade I company at Belmont Park this year, finishing second in the Metropolitan Mile to Holy Bull and third behind Virginia Rapids and Punch Line in the Carter Handicap.

The 4-year-old colt was favored in his most recent start in the Tom Fool Handicap, but again lost to Virginia Rapids.

Missing from this year's lineup is Montbrook, who had been working toward the race, but has not run since his 1993 upset Dash victory. Both he and the 1992 winner, Superstrike, won the stakes as 3-year-olds, getting substantial weight breaks from older horses under the race's allowance conditions.

The 3-year-olds entered this year are Individual Style and Fu Man Slew from California and You And I, who is headquartered at Belmont Park.

Individual Style narrowly defeated Fu Man Slew in his last start in the Harry Henson Stakes at Hollywood Park at the unusual distance of 7 1/2 furlongs.

The trainers of the two horses, Ron Penton and Kim Lloyd, have told Laurel officials that if they can line up air transportation, they are serious about running in the Dash. Fu Man Slew would get in with the light weight of 107 pounds and would probably be ridden by Danny Sorenson, who won the Dash with Superstrike.

NOTES: Lenny Hale, vice president of racing at Laurel/Pimlico, has left for a six-day European excursion to solicit nominations for Laurel's International Turf Festival. Hale will take in racing at Newmarket Race Course in England, The Curragh in Ireland and Evryrace course in France. The featured Washington International grass race at Laurel will be run at 1 1/4 miles this fall instead of at last year's one-mile distance. . . . Few horses, literally, are as royally bred as the 47-1 long shot, Hierarch, who won the sixth race yesterday at Laurel. Not only is the 5-year-old horse sired by a champion, Diesis, and out of an English One Thousand Guineas winner, Highclere, but the horse was bred in England by Queen Elizabeth II.

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