Updated on 09/17/2011 8:41PM

B. B. Best tries Dash - but bigger races await

Jim Lisa
B. B. Best will add blinkers for Saturday's $300,000 Ocala Stud Dash.

HALLANDLAE BEACH, Fla. - Eight of the 10 starters in Saturday's $300,000 Ocala Stud Dash on the card are Florida-breds, although of the eight, only two - B. B. Best and Lucky Frolic - have been stabled in south Florida throughout their careers.

B. B. Best was among the top 2-year-olds to run at Calder last year, winning 4 of 6 starts over his home course, including two divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes. He closed out his 2004 campaign with a fourth-place finish in Churchill Downs' Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Cup, a game effort in which his best chances were compromised by a troubled start and a pace duel.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. gave B. B. Best a brief freshening upon his return from Kentucky with his eye on the Sunshine Millions Dash as the start of his 3-year-old campaign.

"He's the kind of horse who has shown enough where you have to consider some of the bigger 3-year-old races here this winter, but [with him] being a Florida-bred it was hard not to look at this race with a purse of $300,000 that is restricted to Florida- and Cal-breds," Plesa said. "This way, we can get him started and still duck some of the heavy heads, save the one unknown commodity in the field."

The unknown commodity Plesa spoke of is the undefeated and untested Lost in the Fog, a Florida-bred who shipped here from northern California and will be the favorite in the Dash.

B. B. Best will try new equipment, running in blinkers for the first time on Saturday.

"I think the blinkers will help sharpen him up a little bit," said Plesa. "In a couple of his earlier races, he got a little intimidated when another horse went by him. He's worked well with blinkers, and I think the change will improve him."

B. B. Best had his final blowout for the Dash at Calder on Wednesday, breezing three furlongs in 37.20 seconds.

"I've put a little speed into him over the last couple of weeks since he'll be turning back to six furlongs after running long in his previous two starts," Plesa said. "But I'm not worried about the distance. He's already proved he can sprint."

Kruel Intention, also in the Dash, drilled a bullet three furlongs in 35 seconds at Gulfstream on Wednesday. Kruel Intention has won two of his three starts. His most recent victory came in a first-level allowance at Tampa Bay Downs on New Year's Day.

Funny Cide's return delayed

Funny Cide, the 2003 Kentucky Derby winner and 2004 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner who has not raced since finishing 10th in the Breeders' Cup Classic, will not return to the races until early April, trainer Barclay Tagg said.

Tagg had hoped to get Funny Cide back to the races in early March, but he said Funny Cide took longer than expected to recover from a minor injury.

"He has an old splint, and I wanted to make sure it wasn't stinging him," Tagg said.

Gulfstream has a stakes-filled card on April 2, highlighted by the Florida Derby. Potential options for Funny Cide that day are the 7 1/2-furlong Artax Handicap and the 1 1/8-mile Skip Away Handicap.

"I'd like to get one race in him before we go north," said Tagg, who will be based at Belmont Park after he leaves Gulfstream.

Alix M gets acid test vs. Bear Fan

Trainer Ron Spatz will send out two Sunshine Millions runners Saturday - Alix M in the Filly and Mare Sprint and Redoubled Miss in the Distaff - and both horses had their final preps Tuesday at Calder. Alix M worked three furlongs in 35 seconds, Redoubled Miss a half-mile in 49.

Alix M will likely go off as second choice behind odds-on favorite Bear Fan in the Filly and Mare Sprint. She has won five times and is yet to finish worse than second in eight starts on dirt, but has never met a horse with the class or speed of Bear Fan.

"All my filly's races have been good, but this will be an acid test for her," said Spatz. "But however you shake it, this is still a golden opportunity, to be running for this kind of purse, no matter who you have to face."

DeCarlo solid backup to Johnny V

Jockey Chris DeCarlo came into the Gulfstream meet with modest expectations. But DeCarlo has made the most of his opportunities during the opening two weeks, winning two races for trainer Todd Pletcher as well as Sunday's co-feature aboard Bankruptcy Court for Rick Violette.

DeCarlo, who spends most of the year in New Jersey, caught on with Pletcher last summer at Monmouth Park and has become the backup here for the stable's first-call rider, John Velazquez.

"I was just in the right place at the right time this summer," said DeCarlo. "Todd gave me some business, and I was fortunate enough to have some success for him. I won the Monmouth Oaks on Capeside Lady, a couple of other stakes at Delaware, and then on Breeders' Cup Day I went to New York and won the Knickerbocker on Host. I know Johnny is the main man in the barn. I'm just glad for the opportunity to be riding some of these good horses for Todd."

Two of DeCarlo's three winners have come on the turf, including his win with Bankruptcy Court.

"I've ridden Chris in the past, and he's always impressed me as a very good rider," said Violette. "He seems to have figured this new turf course out, especially the fact you can't wait with a horse over this short stretch - and I was really impressed with the ride he put up on Bankruptcy Court."

Frankel defends Ramsey

Bobby Frankel, who trains Shadwell Turf Mile winner Nothing to Lose for owner Ken Ramsey, said he thinks people are overreacting in criticizing Ramsey for his attempt to get a rival owner to scratch a horse from a race at Turfway Park on Dec. 31. Ramsey was suspended for seven days and fined $25,000 by the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority.

"These people who are criticizing him - how many of them have given $50 to the maitre d' at the turf club or Joe's Stone Crabs to jump over someone?" Frankel said. "They're hypocrites."

- additional reporting by Jay Privman