02/05/2010 12:00AM

Court Vision switches teams in GP Turf


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - When trainer Rick Dutrow won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap here last season with Kip Deville, it was Court Vision who posed his greatest threat. On Saturday, Dutrow will attempt to defend that title with, as fate would have it, Court Vision, who was transferred to his barn by principal owner IEAH Stables in the summer.

Court Vision is one of two horses Dutrow entered in the $300,000 Gulfstream Turf, along with Adagio. Run at 1 1/8 miles, the race has a field of six, with Dutrow likely to face his stiffest challenge from Take the Points, a two-time Grade 1 winner as a 3-year-old who will be facing older horses for the first time Saturday.

The lineup also includes Yate's Black Cat, a 7-year-old; speedy Le Grand Cru; and Never On Sunday, a French-bred making his U.S. debut for trainer Patrick Biancone.

Court Vision finished third, less than a length behind Kip Deville, in the 2009 Gulfstream Park Turf. He began his career with trainer Bill Mott, who guided him to over $1.1 million in earnings and several notable victories, topped by his last-to-first three-quarter-length win over Cowboy Cal in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby in 2008. Court Vision was sent to Dutrow following a sixth-place finish as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap on July 4.

Court Vision was sidelined several months following surgery to remove an ascended testicle. When he returned, he did so with a flourish - a gutsy nose decision over Karelian in Keeneland's Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile. That victory earned Court Vision an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup four weeks later at Santa Anita, where he rallied belatedly and finished fourth behind Goldikova in the Mile.

"He was definitely the horse to beat in this race last year, and he ranged up turning for home like he was going to run by us," Dutrow said, looking back at Court Vision's performance in the 2009 Gulfstream Turf. "Luckily, Kip showed up that day and was able to hold him off. "

Dutrow said he was uncertain whether he would also start Adagio, who like Court Vision is principally owned by IEAH.

"We put him in to ensure there will be pace, but I don't think he really needs to run," said Dutrow. "Court Vision should be able to get the job done himself, although Adagio did draw a good post for a stalking trip, and if somebody were to scratch he might be able to pick up a nice check in a Grade 1 race."

Take the Points makes his first start since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby on Nov. 29. In his two previous starts, Take the Points won the Grade 1 Secretariat and Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap.

"The Hollywood Derby was a real head-scratcher for me because this horse trained as well or better than before any other race," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Take the Points for Starlight Partners. "He was in perfect position and just didn't punch down the lane."

Pletcher said he sees Court Vision as his chief rival in the Gulfstream Turf, just as Dutrow did last year when he sent out Kip Deville.

"Court Vision is a tough horse," said Pletcher. "He produces a big late run. He's certainly the one to beat."

Never On Sunday was a Group 1 winner in France going 1 1/8 miles last spring but finished far back in his final two starts in 2009.

Yate's Black Cat seems to be getting better with age. He wheels back on short rest after beating a strong group of allowance runners by two lengths here Jan. 22.