02/09/2008 12:00AM

Bsharpsonata scores by nose in slop


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Turf or dirt, long or short, rain or shine, it apparently doesn't matter to Bsharpsonata.

Turning back in distance and switching from grass to a sloppy main track couldn't deter the versatile Bsharpsonata, who outgamed the previously undefeated Keep the Peace by a nose to win Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Bsharpsonata ($12.40), a daughter of Pulpit, entered the seven-furlong Forward Gal off impressive two-turn victories in the Selima and Calder Oaks, both on the turf. With no grass stakes for 3-year-old fillies available, trainer Tim Saltzman decided to see if his filly could handle the switch back to dirt against graded stakes opposition, although he did not count on the steady showers which turned the track to slop early in the day.

"You always worry about mud but this filly's handled everything we've thrown at her so far, be it sprints, routes, turf, dirt, and now slop," Saltzman said. "She's just incredible."

Although Bsharpsonata was coming off a series of longer races, jockey Eric Camacho was able to settle her within easy striking distance of the pacesetting Keep the Peace in the run down the backstretch. Bsharpsonata remained along the rail, slipping inside the leader to challenge for command turning for home, then proved narrowly best after a pulsating stretch battle.

"Winning a race like this means we can go almost anywhere now," said Saltzman, who trains the homebred Bsharpsonata for Cloverleaf Farms II. "Naturally with a 3-year-old filly at this time of year you start looking towards the Oaks."

The narrow loss by even-money favorite Keep the Peace prevented her jockey, Edgar Prado, from registering his 6,000th career victory. Prado had won two races earlier on the card to climb to within one win of achieving the milestone.