04/09/2003 11:00PM

$150,000 claim fits in turf stakes

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Lord Abounding, claimed out of his last start for $150,000 by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. for the Bridle Path Racing Stable, wastes little time attempting to win back $45,000 of that purchase price in Saturday's $75,000 Yankee Affair Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The Yankee Affair is a five-furlong turf race.

Lord Abounding, a 4-year-old son of Lord Avie, became the most expensive claim in Gulfstream history, and he looked to be worth every penny after he drew away to a 5 1/4-length victory in a field that included Grade 2 winner Keats on March 22. His final time of 1:20.56 was just .44 off the seven-furlong track record and earned Lord Abounding a 113 Beyer Speed Figure, the fourth highest in races up to a mile turned in by any horse in the country this year.

While Lord Abounding appears at his best on dirt, he has shown an affinity for turf sprints, winning two of four tries at the five-furlong distance of the Yankee Affair.

"He's run successfully on the turf in the past and this looked like a good place to start out," said Plesa. "He couldn't be doing better and I really have to run him."

Plesa said he tried to get permission from track management to take Lord Abounding to Keeneland to compete in Sunday's Grade 3, $100,000 Shakertown Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf, but was denied. Track rules state that no horse claimed during the meeting can race at any racetrack operating concurrently with the Gulfstream meet.

"In some jurisdictions, management will give permission to take a claimed horse to another track to compete in stakes races," said Plesa.

Gary Boulanger will ride Lord Abounding, who carries 120 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Yankee Affair. A field of 12 was drawn for the race, and it includes a pair of Maryland-based invaders, Bop and Take Achance on Me.

Trainer Mark Shuman has entered both the speedy Boston Brat and veteran turf specialist Wertz.

Boston Brat has been nothing short of sensational, winning his last three starts, all on dirt, while setting track records at five and 5 1/2 furlongs. He would be the one to catch if he runs, although he has run only twice on grass.

Wertz, on the other hand, is both the most experienced and winningest member of the field over the surface. Like Lord Abounding, he was claimed for six figures earlier in the meet. Shuman claimed him for $100,000 on Jan. 8.