Updated on 09/17/2011 10:12AM

Alternate gets race, others in a fix


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Graham Motion had originally planned on putting Alternate aboard a van headed for Kentucky on Monday morning. Instead Alternate remained behind to compete in Wednesday's $42,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park, which is bad news for her seven rivals in the race, to be run at a mile on the turf for older fillies and mares.

"I never imagined I'd be able to run her again here on the turf so I was planning on sending her to Keeneland for a race up there," Motion said on Monday.

He was surprised when racing secretary Dave Bailey told him that the race was going and that Alternate had gotten into the field.

"I decided to keep her here instead," Motion said.

Alternate finished second in the Delaware Oaks and Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks, both Grade 2 races, as a 3-year-old in 2002. But she but did not try grass until she launched her 2003 campaign in a third-level allowance race on Feb. 5. She finished fifth, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, after encountering trouble through the stretch under Edgar Prado.

"Edgar couldn't ride her for the last three-eighths of a mile," said Motion. "He was blocked in behind horses and had no place to go.

"We'd been thinking about trying the filly on grass sometime this season but wound up doing it a little earlier than we'd expected because the three-other-than on the dirt didn't fill."

The uncertain status of the turf course after heavy rains last weekend resulted in four dirt-only entries for Wednesday's race. If the race goes on the grass only eight of the 12 entrants will start with the rail out 30 feet from the hedge.

"Obviously, we would run her if the race comes off the grass," said Motion.

Gary Boulanger will ride Alternate for the first time, with Prado having returned to New York for the spring.

Alternate figures to sit off the early pace of Prime Queen and Slipping. Those two dueled through fast early fractions under similar conditions on Feb. 24. Prime Queen did well to finish second behind Love Kiss despite the pace battle, snapping a three-race win streak that began at Calder on Dec. 8.

She's Vested, who has a strong late kick, turns back off a second-place finish going 11 furlongs on March 5.

Heritiere, second earlier this winter behind the odds-on Party Queen, comes off a seventh-place finish behind Love Kiss and Prime Queen.

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