06/27/2013 3:10PM

Calder: Where's Sterling, Isutalkintome would benefit from rain in Saturday allowance

Coady Photography
Where’s Sterling, who has not raced since finishing eighth in the Pacific Classic last August, will run in Saturday's allowance only if it is rained off the turf.

MIAMI – The weather will go a long way in determining Where’s Sterling’s imminent future. It will go even further in determining the outcome of Saturday’s $40,000 allowance feature, which is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Where’s Sterling, who has not started since finishing a distant eighth behind Dullahan in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic last August, will compete in Saturday’s headliner only if the race is switched to the main track due to inclement weather. If not, he also is nominated for the six-furlong, Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap here the following weekend.

Where’s Sterling finished off the board in his only previous turf experience. He has won five times on dirt, with three of those victories coming in stakes races, including the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth during summer 2011. Where’s Sterling has even tested Grade 1 waters on two occasions, finishing a troubled fourth in Gulfstream Park’s Donn Handicap during the winter of 2012 and eighth of 10 in the Pacific Classic.

Where’s Sterling has been preparing for his return both at Calder and Gulfstream Park, where he is bedded down with his new trainer, Kirk Ziadie. Where’s Sterling had won the Mecke overnight stakes, a race switched from turf to a sloppy main track, here last summer prior to being sidelined with a foot issue after the Pacific Classic.

“The horse was freshened up in Ocala after the Pacific Classic,” owner Frank Calabrese said. “He’s training well and will run on Saturday if the race comes off the turf. If he doesn’t run, there is a chance we could try him in the Smile, even though it’s at six furlongs, next weekend.”

Where’s Sterling is one of several horses entered in the race that would benefit from a switch to dirt, along with Isutalkintome, Flatter This, and Eldaafer.

Isutalkintome exits a fourth-place finish in the Memorial Handicap. Off the board in his lone try on grass, Isutalkintome won a second-level optional claimer here earlier this spring.

Flatter This and Eldaafer, sixth and 10 in the Memorial Handicap, were entered for main track only Saturday.

The versatile Bellefire will start rain or shine, having already shown a penchant for both turf and dirt. Idle since finishing a disappointing fifth in Gulfstream’s Sir Shackleton on March 30, Bellefire will be stretching his distance limits a bit, having never won beyond a mile.

“Right now, I’d say he’s equally efficient over either surface,” said Leo Azpurua Jr., who trains Bellefire for owner and breeder Joseph Balsamo.

The connections of Brother Pat and the red-hot Backseat Memories are hoping the rain stays away this weekend. Brother Pat has posted three victories on grass, although he remains winless in four starts this season. Backseat Memories has won each of his last three outings, all on grass, including the Mambo Meister overnight stakes May 12.

Ducduc has raced almost exclusively on dirt over the past two seasons, his lone grass try during that period coming in the Grade 2 Pan American this spring at Gulfstream, although he is a proven commodity on turf, having posted eight of his 10 career wins over the surface.

◗ Off the Jak, who, along with his stablemate Trinniberg, is among the nominees for the Smile Sprint, worked four furlongs in 48.60 seconds for trainer Bisnath Parboo after the renovation break here Thursday. Off the Jak is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 True North Handicap.