03/04/2010 12:00AM

Bim Bam finally getting respect

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Despite winning stakes on turf and dirt and holding his own against the likes of Jackson Bend last year, Bim Bam never really received the respect he deserved coming into his 3-year-old campaign. But after Bim Bam lost by a neck to undefeated Nordic Truce in the Dania Beach and outgamed highly regarded Interactif three weeks later in the Hallandale Beach, everybody knows who he is now.

Bim Bam will put his newfound reputation on the line in the Grade 3, $150,000 Palm Beach, the third and last of the "Beach" series races for 3-year-olds on the grass here this winter. The only graded race in the series, the Palm Beach is run at 1 1/8 miles and has a field of nine, including four of Bim Bam's victims from the Hallandale Beach.

The Palm Beach highlights a 10-race card, which includes its filly counterpart, the Grade 3, $150,000 Herecomesthebride.

Bim Bam and jockey Eibar Coa took advantage of a lack of speed in the 1 1/16-mile Hallandale Beach and set a relatively slow pace. Bim Bam was joined by Interactif entering the backstretch and headed at midstretch, but reasserted himself to win by a nose.

"Even though he's had two hard races here this winter, it really hasn't taken a thing out of him," said trainer David Brownlee. "He's small but built efficiently and put together right."

Bim Bam has posted a pair of bullet works over Calder's main track since his last start.

"He's training very well, doing great," said Brownlee. "There's not a lot of speed in here again Sunday. I'd rather have something to run at, but if he's on the lead, it really doesn't matter with him."

Brownlee said he will have some decisions to make if Bim Bam turns in another big performance Sunday.

"I'm not really interested in the Kentucky Derby," said Brownlee, who did not even nominate Bim Bam to the Triple Crown. "This is the last turf race for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream, so we'll have to start looking elsewhere for other options."

Asphalt, Dean's Kitten, Our Champion, and Cat Park were the third- through sixth-place finishers in the Hallandale Beach.

Asphalt raced close up and finished evenly making his stakes debut in the Hallandale Beach. Dean's Kitten encountered traffic on a couple of occasions and was beaten two lengths in his 3-year-old debut. Our Champion made a three-wide middle run but couldn't sustain the bid. Cat Park was hung wide and tired.

Completing the field are Lethal Combination, who makes his U.S. debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin; recent maiden breakers Center Divider and Mutiny; and Paddy O'Prado.

Herecomesthebride: Filly rematch

In the Rough and Check the Label, who finished first and second in the Coconut Grove three weeks ago, renew acquaintances in the Herecomesthebride.

In the Rough had to steady while awaiting room approaching the stretch, but then found clearance along the rail once she turned for home. She outfinished Check the Label by three-quarters of a length and posted her first stakes victory.

Check the Label was forced to rally four wide and finished second in her second start of the meet. She was also a distant third over a sloppy track in the Sweetest Chant four weeks earlier.

Upperline dropped back to last following a slow start before rallying to finish less than two lengths behind In the Rough in the Coconut Grove. Trainer Michael Stidham will put blinkers on Upperline for the first time since her second-place finish in Arlington Park's Top Flight Stakes in August.

Apple Charlotte owns a two-race win streak that includes an allowance victory here earlier in the meet. Musical Romance has also registered allowance win over the local course this winter.

Splendid Sound returns to grass after capturing the OBS Championship over the Ocala Training Center's artificial track Feb. 15.