03/21/2009 12:00AM

Buddy's Humor wins off-the-turf Pan Am


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Bruce Levine's first winter at Gulfstream Park had not been a memorable one. Until Saturday, when Levine finally posted his first victory of the meet and did so in a graded stakes when Buddy's Humor splashed to a three-quarter-length victory over Presious Passion in Gulfstream Park's $150,000 Pan American.

The complexion of the Pan American changed earlier in the day after heavy downpours forced track management to switch the Grade 3, 1 1/2-mile marathon to 1 1/4 miles over a sloppy main track.

Buddy's Humor had never won a race on dirt before the Pan American but being a son of Distorted Humor, he certainly had the pedigree to handle the wet track. With regular rider Jose Lezcano aboard, Buddy's Humor settled about five lengths off the early pace of Presious Passion, advanced leaving the backstretch to engage the leader near the quarter pole, forged to command in early stretch, then gradually began to edge away near the end.

Sligovitz, bet down to 8-5 favoritism with the Pan Am moved to the main track, advanced to within striking distance after a mile but drifted well wide off the final turn and could not sustain his bid. Sligovitz finished 5 1/2 lengths behind Presious Passion and was followed across the wire by South Handyman and Quasicobra. Spice Route and Nergal were scratched.

Buddy's Humor ran 10 furlongs in 2:02.64 seconds over the sloppy track and paid $11.60.

"We talked it over and did not hesitate to run when the race came off the turf," said Levine, who watched the Pan Am from New York. "We were planning on running him on dirt later in the year anyway. We always thought distance would be no problem."