12/26/2009 12:00AM

Buddy's Saint in no hurry to start season

Barbara D. Livingston
Buddy's Saint ended his juvenile season with victories in the Nashua (above) and Remsen.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Buddy's Saint, considered among the top 3-year-old prospects in the country when the 2010 season begins next week, made his first appearance over the racetrack at Gulfstream Park on Saturday after arriving in south Florida from New York last Wednesday.

Bruce Levine, who trains Buddy's Saint for the Kingfield Stables, confirmed Saturday his original plan to skip the Holy Bull on Jan. 23. Buddy's Saint will await the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20 for his 3-year-old debut. He closed out his 2-year-old season with a 12-length victory in the Nashua and a 4 3/4-length score in the Remsen, both Grade 2 stakes at Aqueduct.

"He shipped well, jogged over the track for the first time this morning, and will probably have his first work shortly after the first of the year," Levine said from his office in Barn 8 at Gulfstream during the renovation break on Saturday.

Levine said the prospect of the one-mile Holy Bull being a very grueling race for Buddy's Saint went a long ways toward convincing him to await the 1 1/8-mile Fountain of Youth.

"If any of the preps here have the potential to starch a horse coming off a layoff it's probably the Holy Bull," Levine said. "And if that happens then you're playing catch-up. I don't think a mile and one-eighth the first time will knock him out; he's already shown he can handle it winning the Remsen. Plus I'd have to start breezing him today to make the Holy Bull. He's a big horse and the extra time should do him good and give him a chance to fill out a little more."

Levine has six horses at Gulfstream and will have nearly a half-dozen more here by the end of next week. Included among Levine's south Florida contingent are Buddy's Humor, winner of the Pan Am here last winter, and the promising 2-year-old turf filly The Mailet, who captured Hollywood Park's Grade 3 Miesque Stakes in her 2009 finale.

"Buddy's Humor wrenched an ankle but I hope to have him back in the entries by late January, early February," said Levine. "The Mailet should breeze here later this week. The trip back from California knocked her out a little bit."

Levine said he plans to skip the Jan. 16 Dania Beach with the The Mailet and run her in the Coconut Grove on Feb. 14.

Levine wintered a small contingent at Gulfstream for the first time last winter, but spent most of his time in New York with the main string. But having a potential Kentucky Derby candidate like Buddy's Saint in the barn means Levine will be spending more time shuttling between New York and south Florida this winter.

"I'd love to spend all my time down here during the winter if I could, but unfortunately I have too many horses in New York to do that," said Levine. "But with a 3-year-old prospect like Buddy's Saint I've got to be here more often, which will be nice, especially for my wife. She loves spending the winter in south Florida. In fact she even beat me down."

Variety the spice for Mambo Meister

The versatile Mambo Meister, who has not started since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile on Nov. 7, will return to the grass for his 2010 debut in the Grade 3 Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream on Jan. 10.

"I gave him a few weeks off after he came back from California from the Breeders' Cup," trainer Phil Gleaves said Saturday morning at Gulfstream. "I thought he ran really well and handled the artificial track nicely at Santa Anita. He was only beaten a couple of lengths and a neck for the whole thing, and has turned into a really nice horse with age and maturity. Right now we're going to nominate him for everything, turf and dirt, see what fits him best, and pick our spots this winter."

* Multiple stakes winner Bim Bam topped the Calder work tab on Saturday, posting a bullet five-furlong drill in 1:02. Bim Bam won both the Foolish Pleasure over the main track and Appleton Juvenile Turf at 2. The best half-mile drill of the morning was turned in by another 2-year-old, Gator Tiger, in preparation for his 3-year-old and stakes bow in Friday's Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby.