Updated on 09/16/2011 8:52AM

Allamerican Bertie chomping at bit


MIAMI - Allamerican Bertie began her 3-year-old campaign in south Florida and may end it the same way with an appearance in Saturday's $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes on the turf.

Trainer Steve Flint said he was 50-50 about whether he would run Allamerican Bertie in the Genter or await the opening of Gulfstream Park and the $100,000 Honey Fox Handicap on Jan. 5.

"She's been lightly raced and definitely looking to do something," said Flint, who trains Allamerican Bertie for owners Elaine, Bert, and Richard Klein.

"Her time to run again is within the next two or three weeks," he said. "Calder has a great turf course and I'd like to run her over there because the Churchill Downs people [Calder's owner] have been great to me and I'd love to help them out. But everything would have to go perfect for her to run. And I'm going to watch the weather because I won't run her on the dirt course at Calder. Everything I ran on dirt there last year got crushed and the first one I started at this meet got beat about 25 lengths at 6-5."

Allamerican Bertie launched her career at Gulfstream last winter with an easy maiden win, won the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks in July, and came within three-quarters of a length of defeating likely division champ Farda Amiga when second in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga.

Flint decided to try Allamerican Bertie on the turf for the first time last month at Churchill, and she passed the test, easily defeating allowance company by eight lengths. She returned three weeks later on the main track and outgamed Take Charge Lady to win Churchill's Grade 2 Falls City Handicap. Flint said she will likely run in at least two dirt stakes at Gulfstream, the Sabin on Feb. 8 and the Grade 2 Rampart March 1.

"She's going to be a dirt horse [next] year but there's nothing for her on the main track until the Sabin, so her next start will be on grass," said Flint.

"Our main goal this winter is the Rampart. The Kleins won the race a couple of years ago with De Bertie and this year it happens to fall on their 50th anniversary. After that she'll be given a long rest and will return this summer to point for the Breeders' Cup Distaff."

Flint will have 22 horses stabled at Gulfstream this winter, including Red Hot Bertie, Allamerican Bertie's half-sister by Tabasco Cat.

Cruz, Plesa star on Friday's card

Jockey M.R. Cruz and trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. were the stars of Friday's card. Cruz won five races, including the last four on the program. Three of his victories came on horses trained by Plesa.

Cruz, third in the standings behind Cornelio Velasquez and Eibar Coa, won Friday's second race aboard Artillery Punch and closed out his big day with successive victories on Re Book, Worthy Forum, Abita Please, and Your Cat.

Re Book, Worthy Forum, and Abita Please were all trained by Plesa, who vaulted into a first-place tie with Luis Olivares in the 2002-2003 Tropical trainer standings. Friday's three winners gave Plesa 15 for the meet, which ends on Jan. 2.

Cellars Shiraz also points to Genter

If Allamerican Bertie runs in the Genter, the race could become one of the top races of the season here. Among the other 3-year-old fillies eyeing the race are local division leader Cellars Shiraz and Grade 1 winner Nonsuch Bay.

Cellars Shiraz is undefeated on grass in her native south Florida in 2002, including in an easy 2 1/2-length win over Maliziosa in the Calder Oaks. She switched to the main track and took on older rivals for the first time, finishing third in the Elmber Heubeck Distaff Handicap on Nov. 16.

"I probably would have been better off waiting and running her against older horses on the turf in the My Charmer a couple of weeks ago because there turned out to be no speed in that race," said trainer Bill Cesare. "The Heubeck came up a tougher spot. But it's hard to predict that kind of thing. She'll start in the Genter whether Allamerican Bertie is in there or not. It's her last chance against 3-year-olds so I've got to run her."

* Stronach Stable's multiple graded-stakes-placed Golden Corona and the Christophe Clement-trained pair of Ing Ing and Amonita head a full field of fillies and mares in Sunday's $40,000 Snazzle Dazzle Handicap at a mile on turf. The local contingent will be led by What a Price, who carries a three-race win streak into her stakes debut.