Allen Paulson Living Trust's Del Mar Show and Double S Stable, Ken Avanzino and Joe Sullivan's French Charmer will likely vie for favoritism in Saturday's $100,000 Tropical Turf (gr. IIIT) at Calder.There were 14 entered in the 1 1/8-mile race, but only 12 will start. Bill Mott trains Del Mar Show out of his Payson Park winter quarters and the 6-year-old homebred by Theatrical appears to be back on his game after a couple of disappointing efforts at Saratoga and Belmont. Del Mar Show is a winner of $867,000 and has flashed talent on occasion in the past that would mark him among the nation's best middle distance turf performers. He ran very well last out to finish second, beaten a half-length in the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct on Nov. 1. French Charmer has emerged as a major player in the division this summer and fall and has won six of his last seven starts for trainer Harry Benson after the 4-year-old French Deputy colt was purchased privately last fall. Based at Monmouth Park over the summer, French Charmer shipped to Laurel Park in early August to take the John D. Schapiro Breeders' Cup and arrived here in October to win the Flying Pidgeon Handicap over the course and distance of the Tropical Turf. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has had a big year in New York and will be represented in the Tropical Turf by Darley Stable's English-bred Millennium Dragon. The 4-year-old colt by Mark of Esteem also ran well in the Knickerbocker, finishing third after making all the pace, beaten less than a length for it all. Another veteran turf stakes runner in this wide-open contest is Erdenheim Farm's' Political Attack, winner of the Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) in January 2002 over The Judge Sez Who when the race was forced off turf. The 4-year-old Hawk Attack gelding was subsequently sold privately to Erdenheim.
Michael Matz has guided Political Attack's campaign this year, highlighted by a victory in the Canadian Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream in March. Last out, he won the Sussex Handicap at Delaware Park on Oct. 18. Completing the body of the field for the 27th running of the Tropical Turf are Estio, Irish Colonial, Just Listen, Last Stand, Mr. Livingston, Serial Bride, Sforza and Statement. Pah and Tammany Star are also-eligibles.