Updated on 09/16/2011 6:37AM

Appleton up in the air

Joseph V. DiOrio/Horsephotos
North East Bound (right) will probably run in the Appleton Handicap only if it stays on turf.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - On the turf or off? That was the question when entries were taken at Gulfstream Park on Thursday for Saturday's $100,000 Appleton Handicap, a Grade 2 race carded at one mile on the grass. Fourteen 3-year-olds and up, including several for dirt only and two also-eligibles, were entered.

Heavy rains on Wednesday forced the meet's first turf race to be switched to the main track on Thursday, and the rain threatens to impact the Appleton as well.

Trainer Bill Perry was hoping the course would dry out in time to run North East Bound, the 117-pound highweight and likely favorite in the Appleton.

"I doubt I'll run him if it comes off," Perry said on Thursday. "I've tried him on the dirt here a couple of times, and he just doesn't handle the track."

North East Bound is seeking to recapture the form that saw him finish second in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Mile and win the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland last April. He has not started since finishing a tiring fifth in Belmont's Nassau Handicap on Oct. 28.

"He's had a foot bothering him on and off for a long time, but he's fine now," said Perry. "Last year was a discouraging year, especially after we had such high hopes following his win in Kentucky."

Pat Day will replace regular rider Jose Velez Jr. on *. Velez is spending the winter in New York.

Contenders if the race remains on turf include Tijiyr, a Grade 2 winner who comes off a 10th as the favorite in Calder's Tropical Turf Handicap; Tubrok, runner-up in Saratoga's Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap; and Mr. Livingston.

Galic Boy would be among the favorites in the Appleton, but trainer Mickey Goldfine doubts the horse will run.

"Even if the race stays on the turf, I doubt we'll run since he doesn't handle a soft turf course well and I can't see how it will dry out in time," said Goldfine.

Galic Boy is owned by Arthur Appleton, for whom the race is named. Another Appleton-owned horse, Broadway Snowman, trained by Christophe Clemente, drew on the also-eligible list.

Trajectory and Rize become the ones to beat if the Appleton moves to the main track. Trajectory has won six of 10 starts but has been idle since winning Woodbine's Segram Cup on Aug. 5. Rize finished seventh in the Tropical Turf Handicap after capturing the Creme Fraiche Handicap on dirt at The Meadowlands in his previous start.


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