Trainer Bill Perry has two stakes-winning turf horses, North East Bound and One Eyed Joker, and will be running them both in Saturday's $150,000 Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park.
North East Bound won the Makers Mark Mile (gr. IIT) at Keeneland last year and was second in both the Appleton Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the Fort Lauderdale Handicap (gr.IIIT) at Gulfstream this year. One Eyed Joker is a multiple stakes winner and won the Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder in his last start on Dec. 23.
"I'm planning on running them both in the Canadian Turf Handicap," Perry said. "Originally I was just going to run One Eyed Joker but there really isn't anything else here for North East Bound and he's doing good now so I might as well run him also."
North East Bound had the lead a jump from the finish line and was just nipped at the wire by Pisces in the Appleton Handicap. It was deja vu in the Fort Lauderdale as North East Bound had the lead to almost the finish line before dropping a neck decision to Del Mar Show.
"They've both been training well in the morning," Perry said. "Although I was worried about North East Bound when he threw a shoe when working on the turf last week. Luckily it was on the turf and not the dirt. He didn't hurt himself and he's doing well. He's holding his weight and eating good."
The workout Perry was talking about was last Wednesday when North East Bound went a half-mile in :48 3/5 on a firm turf course with the dogs up. It was the best of eight horses that worked that distance on the turf course.
"North East Bound is plenty fit enough but I've had to work on One Eyed Joker a little more. I gave him about a month's breather at a farm in Ocala after he won that stakes at Calder. He had a terrific workout on Monday."
One Eyed Joker had a bullet trial and was clocked in :47 1/5 handily for a half-mile. It was the best of 51 horses working that distance on Monday.