02/02/2009 1:00AM

Dr. Pleasure a shaky favorite


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Dr. Pleasure will be among the favorites in Wednesday's $44,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park. But trainer John Ward warns bettors to be careful before going all in on the Grade 1-placed horse in the 1 1/8-mile race.

Dr. Pleasure has not started since he clipped heels and fell while chasing the leader in the Grade 3 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 25. Dr. Pleasure has trained forwardly with a handful of five-furlong works since arriving in south Florida in late December. Yet Ward still feels Dr. Pleasure might need a race as he returns from his fall in Kentucky.

"His last race was a nightmare," said Ward. "He's just lucky to be where he is and to be able to compete again after what happened that day. We had to protect him pretty good after the incident. He hit the ground very hard that afternoon, and he's had some down time. He's probably going to need a race before he's back on top of his game again."

When on top of his game, Dr. Pleasure can be very good. He showed enough as a 3-year-old in 2006 to earn a starting spot in the Travers, where he finished a distant third behind winner Bernardini. He was third in the Massachusetts Handicap while lightly campaigned the following season and ran off the screen when he finaly won his entry-level allowance condition with a 102 Beyer Speed Figure last summer at Saratoga.

"He's got the talent, there's no arguing that," said Ward who trains the homebred Dr. Pleasure for owner John Oxley.

There are no shortage of options for horseplayers looking to beat Dr. Pleasure on Wednesday. The race drew several former stakes-caliber runners who are in for the $62,500 optional claiming tag.

M B Sea has earned nearly $800,000 in a career that spans eight years. Now 10, he ran in four stakes last season but remains winless since the Fall Stakes at Mountaineer Park in October 2007.

Alaazo was briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail last year after opening his career with a pair of victories. A son of A. P. Indy, he finished fourth in the Grade 1 Haskell last summer and has not started since finishing far back under allowance conditions at Keeneland on Oct. 12.

Cosmic won his maiden in his second start off the layoff here last winter, and trainer Shug McGaughey will be hoping for similar results off a much-needed allowance try here three weeks ago.