From Gulfstream Park
It's the old versus the "now" as nine horses contest the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap, the Grade 1 fixture that will have its 56th running on Saturday. Sir Bear, the 8-year-old highweight in the field, will likely yield the role of favorite to Broken Vow, who galloped to victory his last start and has lost just once in six career starts. The mile and a quarter Gulfstream Park 'Cap, which has been won by such champions as Skip Away and Cigar in recent runnings, goes as the 10th event on Saturday's 11-race card, and will reward the winner with a first prize of $120,000. Broken Vow, who gets in Saturday's race with 114 pounds, has made just one mistake in his life, and trainer Graham Motion takes the blame for that race. The 4-year-old colt by Unbridled won the first four starts of his career last year, including the first two at Gulfstream, and made his 2001 debut here in a seven-furlong optional claimer/allowance on Jan. 7. He was not quite cranked tight enough to cope with some good sprinters and finished seventh. Last out, going two turns again, Broken Vow resumed his winning ways. He led every step and drew off at the end to win by nearly five lengths at a mile and 70 yards. He will be stepping up to 10 furlongs for the first time in his life. The Gulfstream linemaker has installed Broken Vow as the 5-2 morning line favorite and the betting will be that Edgar Prado will have him in front every step of the way from Post 2. Sir Bear, who carries 116 pounds in here, was scratched from an overnight stake Wednesday at nine furlongs to go in this spot. Trainer Ralph Ziadie has not run the old Bear since Dec. 30, when he was third behind American Halo in the Fred W. Hooper Handicap (G3) at a mile and an eighth. The gelding won the Broward Handicap (G3) here in 1998 and 1999, but has never won at a mile and a quarter, although he's been successful at a mile and an eighth. He goes from the rail with Eibar Coa back in the irons and it is expected he'll try to stalk the pace and make a late move. Sir Bear is 6-1 on the morning line. Vision and Verse, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by leading stakes jockey Jerry Bailey, is the second choice at 3-1 on the line. The 5-year-old by Storm Cat was third behind Broken Vow here last out, but has not won since taking an allowance race last May at Churchill Downs. He was second to American Halo, beaten just a head, in the Skip Away Handicap (G3) here on Jan. 13 in his seasonal debut. Pleasant Breeze, third in the Skip Away and fourth behind Captain Steve in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap here last out, goes from Post 4 Saturday with regular rider Jorge Chavez back in the boot. The 6-year-old, trained by Jim Bond at Payson Park, is a stakes winner at a mile and a quarter (last year's Grade 2 Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap) and gets in here at just 115 pounds, one less than he carried in the Donn. Pleasant Breeze does his best running on or near the pace and will be a direct threat to Broken Vow's early dominance. He is the 5-1 third choice. Pat Byrne sends out Duckhorn, who chased Broken Vow through most of the mile and 70-yard allowance last out. The 4-year-old colt has won four races in his life, all by daylight margins. A son of Not for Love, Duckhorn was seventh in his seasonal debut here in the Skip Away 'Cap on Jan. 13, but looked like he was rounding to form in his second to Broken Vow. Pat Day takes the reins again at 114 pounds from Post 7. Gander has tried the best in his most recent efforts, coming up with seconds and thirds but no wins. The 5-year-old by Cormorant won the Evan Shipman Stakes against New York-breds at Belmont in July, then was pitched against top-class horses in five straight graded stakes. Trainer John Terranova 2nd watched Gander run third behind Pleasant Breeze in the Saratoga 'Cap; third to Lemon Drop Kid in the Grade 1 Woodward; second to Albert the Great in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup; ninth in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic; and third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. John Velazquez has a return engagement on Gander, who totes 115 pounds from Post 5 in here. The other three entered - Cat's at Home, With Anticipation and Salty Note - will all be longshots Saturday. Cat's at Home, trained by Mark Hennig, was eighth in the Skip Away and last out chased the uncatchable Rock and Roll in an allowance race. Richard Migliore rides at 113 from Post 6. With Anticipation was third behind Behrens in last year's Gulfstream Park 'Cap, then won three races during the season, including a stake at the Meadowlands in November. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard sharpened the 6-year-old gelding for this start by running him in the seven-furlong Eillo Stakes, where he finished sixth behind Rollin With Nolan. Mike Smith rides at 114 from the outside Post 9. Salty Note won the John B. Campbell Handicap at a mile and three-sixteenths last year, but has been far back in two starts here this year. Alec Fehr trains the 6-year-old who gets Mike McCarthy in the boot at 112 pounds for this.