12/07/2011 2:27PM

Aqueduct: Gallant Fields goes two turns in optional claimer

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Tom Keyser
Gallant Fields will stretch out to two turns in an optional claimer Friday on the Aqueduct inner track.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – After running into the graded stakes winner Mucho Macho Man in his last start, Gallant Fields should find the company more to his liking Friday when he attempts to clear the second-level allowance condition at Aqueduct.

Gallant Fields takes on eight rivals in this mile and 70-yard race that also carries an optional claiming tag of $50,000 for which two horses are eligible. Two starts back, Gallant Fields splashed his way to an 8 1/4-length victory in a first-level allowance race run in the slop on closing day at Saratoga.

Following a two-month layoff, Gallant Fields returned in a spot similar to this, but had the misfortune of hooking Mucho Macho Man, who was returning to the races after competing in all three legs of the Triple Crown.

In that one-mile race, Gallant Fields chased Mucho Mach Man around the track, beaten 5 3/4 lengths while finishing 1 1/4 lengths clear of the field.

This will be the first attempt around two turns for Gallant Fields since he finished last in his third career start at Saratoga in summer 2010. Since then, he has changed barns, been gelded, and had a chip removed.

“We took the chip out, and he’s come back a nice horse,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “He was unlucky to get beat last time when he hooked a good horse in Mucho Macho Man. The distance is not an issue. I’m concerned about the post position, because everybody looks like they have a little bit of speed. But we have Ramon.”

Ramon Dominguez rides Gallant Fields from post 9.

Trainer Kelly Breen sends out I Love It, who has won two straight since having blinkers added to his equipment. In both of those races, I Love It has gotten involved earlier on.

“The game plan when we put the blinkers on was to send him,” Breen said. “He’s run well with them. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he likes the inner track.”

He’s So Chic is winless in seven starts since being claimed by Jason Servis in May 2010. He is one of two horses entered for the $50,000 claiming price.

Eltish Star has won eight races, including two over the inner track. He has been known to upset on occasion in situations when there is a pace meltdown.

Southern Ridge, Midnight Billy, Bernie the Maetro, Joan’s Choice, and Spa City Fever complete the lineup.