01/14/2002 12:00AM

Binthebest much prefers 7 furlongs


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Carl Nafzger scratched Binthebest out of Sunday's Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap in hopes of finding an easier spot in Wednesday's fourth-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park.

While there may not be any graded-stakes winners among the eight entrants, Binthebest will still face a contentious group in the seven-furlong race. The $40,000 allowance race headlines a 10-race card as Gulfstream commences its third week of the meeting.

After three disappointing races in New York, Binthebest completed his late-starting 4-year-old season with back-to-back allowance wins at Keeneland and Churchill Downs. While the last race came at six furlongs, Nafzger believes Binthebest is more effective at seven furlongs.

"He got wiped out every trip in New York," Nafzger said. "Three-quarters is really not his game; he's better at seven-eighths. He's just now catching on."

Pat Day will ride Binthebest from the rail under co-highweight of 122 pounds.

Nafzger hopes there will be some pace in the field, which means he will need somebody to run with There's Zealous, who makes his 4-year-old debut. There's Zealous won a third-level allowance race in September at Arlington, but has lost four straight since. Two of those races came on the turf, including a ninth-place finish in the Pete Axthelm Stakes at Calder in December.

Prior to that, There's Zealous finished a clear second after dueling with another horse through swift fractions in a mile allowance race at Churchill Downs.

"He put up with all the heat and the winner, Frazee's Folly, came from out of it and beat us," trainer Paul McGee said. "My horse took all the early heat and still hung in there real game. He's a nice horse. I look for him to run very well on Wednesday."

McGee will also send out Twilight Road - who will not be coupled with There's Zealous - in Wednesday's race. Twilight Road makes his first start since Sept. 14 when he finished fourth in a conditioned allowance race at Turfway Park. He shows two solid workouts over the Gulfstream strip, including a five-furlong move in 1:01, the best of 61 moves at the distance.

"I like the way he's done since he's gotten down here," McGee said.

Trainer Nick Zito, who won two races on Sunday's card, sends out the coupled entry of Bare Outline and Panner. Bare Outline is a two-time winner at Gulfstream. Panner is a two-time winner at the distance.

Ticket to Freedom, Highway Prospector, and Seeking the Show complete the field.

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