01/22/2009 1:00AM

American Border gets needed start


OLDSMAR, Fla. - American Border has won 4 of 5 starts since being claimed, including the Grade 3 Violet Handicap at the Meadowlands. She is slated to make her 2009 debut here Saturday in an allowance prep for the Grade 3, $150,000 Endeavour Stakes on Feb. 14.

Trainer Jason Servis said he's been looking for the right spot to bring back American Border, a 5-year-old mare who won almost $200,000 last season, with most of her earnings coming after being claimed for $30,000 at Monmouth Park in June.

"I had her entered in a stakes down here [at Gulfstream Park], then she came up with a cough and we had to scratch," Servis said, "She's over that now, and I need to get a race into her before we try stakes horses again. I'm looking at the Endeavour for sure as well as some other grass stakes."

Servis said he claimed American Border because he liked the way she looked in some races at Gulfstream last winter, and he thought she was worth a shot when she was dropped in for a claiming price.

"I'd watched her run several times last winter and she had impressed me," he said. "Of course we had no way of knowing she would wind up a graded stakes winner, but sometimes in this game you get lucky."

American Border won her first start for Servis at Monmouth in allowance company, came back to be a close third in an optional claimer, then ran off a string of three straight wins. She concluded her season by rallying from next to last in the 1 1/16-mile Violet to win by a half-length at 11-1.

Daniel Centeno rides American Border Saturday.

Drop a Line, from the highly regarded Graham Motion barn, makes her 2009 debut and deserves consideration in this race. She won the $100,000 Windward Stakes at Presque Isle over the Tapeta all-weather surface in August and then led to the late stages of the $115,000 Indian Maid Handicap on the Hawthorne turf before finishing third in September.

Rosemary Homeister Jr. will ride Drop a Line.

Of the locally based runners, Coffee Can, who fell a head short of winning a tough optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on the turf last time out here, deserves a look.

* A Tampa Bay Downs baseball cap will be given out to paying customers Saturday.