Pleasant Breeze, fourth in the grade I Donn Handicap, worked five furlongs at Payson Park in 1:02 Monday, prompting trainer Jim Bond to announce the horse as a definite starter in the grade I Gulfstream Park Handicap this Saturday."Pleasant Breeze worked very well this morning," said Bond. "I was very pleased with his effort, and I was very pleased with the spread in the weights when they came out. We're looking forward to running him in the Gulfstream Park Handicap on Saturday and Jorge Chavez will ride him."There is only a five-pound spread from top to bottom in the weights released, with Sir Bear asked to shoulder the top impost of 116, Pleasant Breeze weighted at 115 and four horses equally weighted with 111 pounds on the bottom.In the Feb. 3 Donn, Pleasant Breeze's most recent trip to the post, the 6-year-old gelding was a well-beaten fourth behind the victorious Captain Steve, but Bond was not discouraged."As long as we don't have to go to Dubai and run against Captain Steve, we'll be all right," Bond said at the time A more encouraging performance locally for the altered son of Pleasant Tap came when he was third in the Grade 3 Skip Away here January 13, beaten only a half-length for all of it.Meanwhile, trainer Ralph Ziadie entered his perennial handicap star Sir Bear in Wednesday's $63,000-added Cryptoclearance Stakes but is still not ruling out the Gulfstream Park Handicap. "I'm still thinking about the mile and a quarter on Saturday," Ziadie said, shortly after entering Sir Bear for Wednesday's overnight stakes. "I entered in this race (the Cryptoclearance) just to take a look at it and see how it shapes up."I'm keeping a close eye on him," said Ziadie of Sir Bear. "I'm not ruling out anything just yet."
Although Sir Bear did not run in last year's Gulfstream Park Handicap, the gelding finished third behind Behrens in the 1999 renewal, beaten four and a half lengths for all of it. In 1998, Sir Bear finished fourth behind Skip Away in the season highlight for older horses, just over five lengths behind the winner.Vision and Verse, who was assigned 114 pounds for the Gulfstream Park Handicap, was clocked in :58 4/5 handily for five-furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Monday, the best time of 26 horses working that distance.