01/23/2003 12:00AM

Excessivepleasure vs. Supah Blitz in uncrowded Dash

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Excessivepleasure shipped in from Southern California for Saturday's $250,000 Sunshine Millions Dash at Gulstream Park with an ublemished record, having won both his previous starts, including the California Breeders' Champion Stakes.

But trainer Manny Tortora, who is based at Calder, has issued a warning to the speedy invader: "He better have his trucking shoes."

Tortora trains Supah Blitz, the best of the five Florida-breds who make up Team Florida for the seven-furlong Dash, which drew a field of only seven 3-year-olds. Judge Swiss, a distant third behind Excessivepleasure in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes, is the only other California-bred in the field.

Supah Blitz is a versatile runner who will be turning back in distance and coming off the grass for the Dash. In his last start, Supah Blitz finished third after forcing the pace of the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby.

"He was probably too close to the pace in his last start, but the race should help him because it will take some of the speed out of him and allow him to sit back and make one run, which is his best style," said Tortora.

In his previous two starts going seven furlongs on dirt, Supah Blitz rallied from far back to win Calder's Jack Price Stakes for statebreds and finished second in Houston's Great State Challenge Juvenile.

"The Gulfstream track can get pretty fast at times, but I'm not too concerned," said Tortora. "Nothing can be faster than the track was that day in Texas. They went 1:09 and change for six furlongs and 1:22 and change, and he was right there at the end."

Cornelio Velasquez will pick up the mount for the Dash.

Excessivepleasure was drawing away at the end of both of his wins. He also proved he was more than a one-dimensional speed horse when he rallied from near the back of the pack to cruise to an easy victory in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes. He earned Beyer Speed Figures of 92 for both his victories and is well drawn from the outside post with Pat Valenzuela aboard.

Awesome of Course and Valid Video should both help assure a realistic pace in the Dash.

Awesome of Course, who races coupled with J.R. Belongs, makes his first start since winning Tampa Bay Downs's Inaugural Stakes on Dec. 17. He was fourth after setting the pace into the stretch in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in his previous appearance four months earlier.

Valid Video was the talk of New Jersey after posting 95 Beyer Speed Figures in his first two starts, winning his debut and Monmouth Park's Sapling Stakes. In his only subsequent appearance, Valid Video finished a tiring fourth after forcing the early pace of the Grade 1 Belmont Futurity. Trainer Dennis Manning has had Valid Video legging up at the Classic Mile Training Center in preparation for his 3-year-old debut.