Bowman's Band Favored in Skip Away

The last time Bowman's Band raced 8 1/2 furlongs, the son of Dixieland Band lost the Hal's Hope Handicap (gr. III) to Puzzlement by a neck. Perhaps he'll have the advantage this time around as trainer Allen Jerkens will again send out his charge at Gulfstream Park in Saturday's Skip Away Handicap (gr. III), a $100,000 race going 8 1/2 furlongs. Bowman's Band is the morning line favorite at 5-2.

To date the only graded stakes victory for Bowman's Band came last October in the Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II), but he has placed seven times in graded events, proving he's deserving of keeping such company. Owner Martin Schwartz bought Bowman's Band for $260,000 at the 2000 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training. Since then he's earned $896,440.

Joining Bowman's Band will be Bourbonnais who recently won his first North American start. The Darley runner won a 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park allowance in February by 4 3/4 lengths in his first race since May of last year. Bourbonnais has raced in England, France, and Dubai, and won the 2002 Paradime Acomb Stakes at York. He is the second choice at 3-1.

Third in the early odds is Newfoundland, the second stakes-winning foal from grade I winner Clear Mandate. Newfoundland (by Storm Cat) won his last start, the 8 1/2-furlong Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. III), which came off the turf because of rain. He put a neck in front of Millennium Dragon at the wire for the win. Todd Pletcher trains Newfoundland for Sumaya Us Stables. He previously raced in England for John Magnier and Michael Tabor, whose agent Demi O'Byrne paid $3.3 million for the colt as a yearling. Newfoundland has won three of his last four starts at this distance.

The complete field for the $100,000 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III), Gulfstream Park's 13th race on March 13, 8 1/2 furlongs:

Horse, Jockey, Weight, Morning Line
1--Bowman's Band, Ramon Dominguez, 117, 5-2
2--Christine's Outlaw, Edgar Prado, 113, 6-1
3--Country Be Gold, Rene Douglas, 113, 20-1
4--Supah Blitz, Cornelio Velasquez, 112, 12-1
5--Super Frolic, Jose Santos, 112, 20-1
6--Newfoundland, John Velazquez, 116, 5-1
7--M B Sea, Craig Perret, 116, 8-1
8--Offlee Wild, Mark Guidry, 111, 10-1
9--Bourbonnais, Jerry Bailey, Tom Albertrani, 114, 3-1
10--Whos Crying Now, Manoel Cruz, 115, 12-1