Updated on 09/17/2011 9:52AM

Allamerican Bertie must be caught in Sabin


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Steve Flint is going to leave well enough alone. The trainer got away once with running Allamerican Bertie on the turf. The second time, she finished last.

Now, said Flint, "We're going to let her do what she wants to do."

That is running two turns, on dirt, and daring anyone to catch her. That is the prospect 10 rivals face in Saturday's $100,000 at Gulfstream Park. Allamerican Bertie figures to be both the favorite and the one to catch in the Grade 3 race at 1 1/16 miles.

Allamerican Bertie developed into one of the nation's top 3-year-old fillies in 2002, when she won the Delaware Oaks and finished second to subsequent champion Farda Amiga in the Alabama Stakes. Her finest race, though, might have come in Churchill Downs's Falls City Handicap in November, when Allamerican Bertie took the track from Take Charge Lady and never looked back.

One race prior to the Falls City, Allamerican Bertie was an eight-length winner in an optional claiming race on the Churchill turf. Flint decided to start off Allamerican Bertie on grass this winter here, but after racing inside on the lead to the top of the stretch she stopped badly in the Honey Fox Handicap on Jan. 5.

"Early in the meet here, it was like suicide to go to the rail on the turf," Flint said. "Grass is something we might have a chance to try again, but she's a better dirt horse, and we know it."

Jerry Bailey will ride Allamerican Bertie for the first time, replacing Pat Day. They break from post 9. Allamerican Bertie carries top weight of 120 pounds, and spots four to nine pounds to her rivals.

Her main challenger could be Softly, who was third in the Falls City in her last start, finishing 3 3/4 lengths behind Allamerican Bertie.

Softly needs a hot pace to set up her late charge.

"She's the kind of horse that can beat you if you stub your toe, but she's got to take a step forward to be considered one of the best," her trainer, Carl Nafzger, said. "She missed most of her 3-year-old year because she got pleurisy. She came back well, and went through her conditions, but then she hit some tough mares."

Stormy Frolic was carried wide on the first turn when she finished fourth behind Tonight's Wager and Vespers in an optional claiming race here on Jan. 20. With a better post (2) this time, Stormy Frolic has a right to improve.

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