02/18/2010 1:00AM

Andhaar has speed as his weapon


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Andhaar is racing over his conditions in Friday's featured eighth race at Gulfstream Park, and, with one exception, he is the least-experienced horse in a field overflowing with past stakes horses. Yet he possesses a trait that the late Joe Hirsch, not one to gamble often but a sage of success at the windows, always preached. Andhaar could be on a lonely lead, and, as Hirsch was wont to say, "Speed is always dangerous."

Andhaar is making his first start in three months, and comes into the race off a steady series of works at the Palm Meadows training center. His best races have been going two turns, on turf, while on or near the lead, conditions he figures to get in this 1 1/2-mile optional claiming race.

But to prevail, he will have to run farther than he ever has, and then hold off some salty old-timers. Chief among them is Silver Mountain, who turns up eligible to be claimed out of the race for $62,500 after finishing fourth in the McKnight Handicap at Calder two months ago.

Also eligible to be claimed for $62,500 is Imawildandcrazyguy, a former stakes performer trying to recapture his past glory. He is winless in four starts on turf, two at Gulfstream.

Auction Watch merits strong consideration in his second start following a six-month layoff. He was outrun going 1 1/16 miles on turf here in his comeback on Jan. 27, but won 6 of his previous 16 starts, including a pair of middle-distance grass races last summer at Philadelphia Park.

Ordination is an intriguing prospect. He was given plenty of time to recover following a poor try in the Arlington Handicap last summer in Chicago. This distance is right up his alley, and his new trainer, Christophe Clement, is outstanding when bringing horses off of lengthy layoffs.

Memorial Maniac never threatened in the McKnight, and though he has won just 2 of 17 starts, he just did miss at this distance on the Keeneland turf last fall in a race won by Silver Mountain.

Favorite Soup defeated maidens at Woodbine going 11 furlongs on turf, so the distance should not bother him, though he, too, is racing over his conditions.

Adari can improve off a sixth-place finish in his last start, his first in more than nine months. He, however, is winless in four starts on this turf course. Cat 'n Fiddle, whose lone win was against maiden-claimers, and the 0-for-39 maiden Primero Peru round out the field.