01/14/2009 12:00AM

Dragon Fi drops into sprint


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Bruce Levine paid his first visit to the new Gulfstream Park last weekend and loved what he saw. He will like it even better if Dragon Fi can give him his first victory of the meet when he takes on six rivals, including the Bobby Frankel-trained entry of On Board Again and Fidello, in Friday's $46,000 allowance feature.

Levine has horses stabled in south Florida for the first time this winter, with Dragon Fi only the second runner from the barn to hit the entries. A son of Gulch, Dragon Fi is dropping in class and shortening up in distance to seven furlongs after being overmatched against the likes of Fearless Vision and Judiths Wild Rush going a mile in his 2008 finale at Aqueduct.

"I tried him long a couple of times at the end of the year, and he was just so-so," Levine said by phone from New York. "So I thought sprinting, he might kick in on the turn back to seven furlongs."

Dragon Fi won a third-level allowance over the Philadelphia Park turf course on Sept. 21.

Dragon Fi and Rexson's Rose are the only two horses in the field competing under a $75,000 claiming price.

Levine also said he is already thinking about having a much greater presence at Gulfstream next winter.

"I only have a handful down there now, but I'd like to get started in a bigger way next year," said Levine. "I didn't want to leave this week. The weather was gorgeous, and I thought the new place was great."

Like Levine, Frankel has only a small contingent of his vast stable in south Florida this winter but may hold the upper hand in Friday's main event, with the Stronach Stable entry of On Board Again and Fidello. Only one of them is likely to start, though.

On Board Again, who was Grade 3 stakes-placed on a couple of occasions at 3, returned from nearly two years on the sidelines to post a win and two seconds in four starts during the second half of 2008. The brief campaign concluded with a second-level allowance win going a mile at Aqueduct.

Fidello dropped a stretch-long duel to King A. J. when narrowly beaten in his 2008 finale at Churchill Downs. Fidello, a homebred son of Awesome Again, earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 101 winning a second-level allowance at seven furlongs earlier in the year.