04/24/2007 11:00PM

Bertrandiful's turf trial merits a second look


ALBANY, Calif. - Trainer Armando Lage was simply trying to make the best of a bad situation when he put Bertrandiful on the turf in his last start. But the move proved shrewd when Bertrandiful finished second in a $25,000 claimer on the turf at Bay Meadows, and it could reap further dividends Friday when Bertrandiful meets seven other 3-year-olds in a $40,000 starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Golden Gate Fields.

Bertrandiful ran second to Rush With Thunder in that April 8 turf race. A son of Bertrando, Bertrandiful put his head in front in the stretch but was outfinished by another son of Bertrando.

"Any time you have a nice young horse, you want to give him a chance on grass," Lage said. "It worked out nicely for him.

"To be honest, I wanted to run him on dirt. I kept entering him and entering him, but the race never filled," Lage said. "I told my partners we should try the grass."

The race marked a big step up for Bertrandiful, who had just won his maiden for a $12,500 claiming tag.

A $7,000 yearling purchase at Pleasanton in September 2005, Bertrandiful showed little until stretched out to a mile. He ran second and third at the distance before winning.

That turf race earned a 73 Beyer, his career best and also the highest Beyer of any horse in the race on Friday.

Lage said the Golden Gate turf course is a little different than the Bay Meadows turf.

"Golden Gate, I find, is a bit softer, maybe a little looser," he said. "But I'm quite confident he'll like it. Horses that like grass seem to run well over the course. I think he'll run a good race."

Bertrandiful will be meeting two runners, Ballestero and Lofty M.D., who come off a maiden victory at the $32,000 level in their turf debuts. Both were stretching out for the first time, and Ballestero had come north for the first time after a pair of sprint tries at Santa Anita.

Also in the field are D'Wildcharm and Caperia, who defeated Bertrandiful in his first two maiden tries around two turns. D'Wildcharm and Caperia will be making their turf debuts. D'Wildcharm is a half-brother to turf stakes winner Valory, who went 3 for 3 on the surface.