04/15/2004 11:00PM

'Elegant' vs. Sorbet a tossup


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The pickings are getting slim as the 2004 Gulfstream Park meeting heads into its final week. The 92-day meet ends a week from Sunday.

The best race that could be assembled for Sunday's 10-race card was a first-level allowance dash for older fillies and mares, which drew a field of only six. The race carries a $34,000 purse and will be decided at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Elegant Edge should go off as the slight favorite over Sorbet. Completing the field are Kentucky Woman, Dinner Sweets, Shower Scene, and Orbited.

Elegant Edge was a four-length winner in her career debut, which came under a $32,000 claiming tag Feb. 21. Elegant Edge likely bled in that race, as she raced on Lasix for the first time when she returned to action five weeks later and finished second behind the even-money Kuanyan in an entry-level allowance.

Elegant Edge is trained by Tim Hills for her breeder, Laurence Foggle.

Sorbet comes off the best effort of her career, a 3 3/4-length maiden victory April 1. The performance earned Sorbet a 78 Beyer Speed Figure, one point higher than Elegant Edge received in her last start.

Shower Scene is the biggest question mark in the race. Owned and trained by Allen Iwinski, Shower Scene has not started since Oct. 25 at The Meadowlands, but was knocking on the door against similar opposition in New Jersey before being sidelined. She has worked steadily for her return since late February, including a near-bullet 1:01 gate drill.

Dinner Sweets had finished first or second in five consecutive starts before tiring to be fifth behind Kuanyan and Elegant Edge three weeks ago.

Velazquez, Pletcher to win titles

The 2004 jockey and trainer titles were sewed up long ago. John Velazquez, with 78 winners, will take home his first Gulfstream riding title. Edgar Prado, the 2002 champion, will finish second. Todd Pletcher will walk away with his first Gulfstream trainers title. Pletcher's 40 victories puts him far head of nine-time champion Bill Mott, who had saddled 23 winners entering Friday's card.

Smooth Lover strong as ever

Smooth Lover continued his dominance of the two-turn starter allowance division with another easy victory in Friday's opener. A 5-year-old son of Suave Prospect, Smooth Lover had posted a 4 3/4-length win and a 6 3/4-length win under starter conditions earlier in the meet.

Smooth Lover is trained by Barry Rose and was ridden to victory for the second straight time by Phil Teator.