11/16/2006 12:00AM

Big Lover returns to face peers


MIAMI - There are six weeks left for 3-year-olds to compete against their own age group. That likely is the main reason Big Lover will wheel back on six days' rest to take on six other 3-year-olds in Saturday's $45,000 Gizmo's Fortune Stakes at 1 1/16 miles at Calder.

Big Lover enters the Gizmo's Fortune off a fourth-place finish against his elders in the Carl G. Rose Classic for Florida-breds here last Saturday. A son of Ecton Park, Big Lover turned in an even effort, finishing 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner, Rehoboth.

The Gizmo's Fortune will mark Big Lover's first race against straight 3-year-olds since the American Dream Stakes on Aug. 20, when he finished fourth. Big Lover, a homebred owned by Michael Sherman's Farnsworth Farms, has captured 4 of 16 starts this year, including the Ride the Rails Stakes. He was also second behind Nkosi Reigns in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap on Oct. 14, earning a career-best 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

Big Lover will carry high weight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Gizmo's Fortune, conceding from 5 to 7 pounds to his six foes. He has lost his regular rider of the past two months, Manoel Cruz, who will ride Gin Rummy King. Abel Castellano Jr., who rode Big Lover to three victories earlier this year, regains the mount.

A wet-track specialist, Gin Rummy King made six straight stakes appearances before dropping in company and defeating older allowance competition by 2 1/2 lengths over a sloppy track Nov. 2. The win was his first since he upset the Donthelumbertrader Stakes over a yielding turf course in July.

The most intriguing member of the field is Guapeton, who makes his stakes debut and two-turn debut. Guapeton finished second in his debut Aug. 27, but has since registered two wins over older competition. He is expected to set the pace from his inside post.