Updated on 09/17/2011 8:55PM

Expect Eddington to improve


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Eddington's affinity for this surface and a favorable pace scenario may give him a slight edge in the 60th running of the Gulfstream Park Handicap on Saturday.

A field of nine was entered for the Grade 2, $300,000 race, including Zakocity and Classic Endeavor - the second- and third-place finishers from the Sunshine Millions Classic - and Contante, third in the Hal's Hope Stakes.

has 3 wins from 5 starts at Gulfstream, including a powerful 8 3/4-length victory in a third-level allowance race on Jan. 16. He came back in the Donn and finished third behind Saint Liam and Roses in May. Trainer Mark Hennig said he believes Eddington had an excuse that day.

According to Hennig, Eddington came out of the race with a low-grade fever and some mucus in his lungs. Eddington has bounced back nicely in the last month, Hennig said, and blew out three furlongs in 36.80 seconds on Thursday.

Eddington, who finished third in the 2004 Preakness and fourth in the Belmont, was a big, goofy kid as a 3-year-old. He appears to have matured since this time last year and should get a nice pace in front of him on Saturday.

"The latter part of last year and this year he's definitely more focused,'' Hennig said. "The nice thing about him is he always runs well.''

Zakocity, Classic Endeavor, and Kennel Up are all candidates to be part of the early pace.

Zakocity ran the race of his life when he finished second behind Musique Toujours in the Sunshine Millions Classic. Zakocity pressed the pace that day and fell a neck short while finishing 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Classic Endeavor.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he believes Classic Endeavor should have won the Sunshine Millions Classic. Classic Endeavor was behind horses down the backstretch, then had to alter course in the stretch. He was beaten less than two lengths. Prior to that, he had won five consecutive races, including the Queens County at 1 3/16 miles, the distance of this race.

"No matter what anybody else says, we got the worst trip; hope it doesn't happen again,'' Dutrow said. "He would have won if he had been able to get out turning for home, and his trip to that point was terrible.''

Classic Endeavor breaks from the outside post under John Velazquez and high weight of 118 pounds.

Contante finished a rallying third behind Badge of Silver and Dynever in the Hal's Hope. He went 2 for 2 at this distance in his native Argentina. Contante gets in with 114 pounds under new rider Ramon Dominguez.