11/19/2012 1:59PM

Florida notebook: Breen's Gulfstream brigade includes Bern Identity, Pants On Fire

Barbara D. Livingston
Bern Identity comes to Florida off a second in the Delta Jackpot. The Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby are possible spots for him during the Gulfstream meet.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Kelly Breen returned to south Florida before either of his horses who ran Saturday at Delta Downs – Bern Identity, who ran second in the Delta Jackpot, and Pants On Fire, who finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite in the Delta Mile. Both of them were still on the road to Palm Meadows on Monday morning.

Breen was waiting for the opportunity to evaluate the pair before hitting the road again later this week, setting out for New York where he’ll watch 2011 Belmont winner Ruler On Ice breeze on Saturday morning and his promising juvenile Vegas No Show run later that afternoon in the Remsen.

Even though Bern Identity came out on the short end of a 1 3/4-length decision to Goldencents, Breen was pleased with the colt’s performance. Bern Identity rallied from last after six furlongs to finish second in the 1 1/16-mile Delta Jackpot, which could be Bern Identity’s last start until late February. “We’ll get him back here and see how he bounces out of this one, but with the new point system for determining eligibility for the Kentucky Derby, you almost have to target the races later in the winter now,” said Breen. “So if you don’t see him run in January, it may be by design.”

Breen said he doesn’t have a specific race in mind, but he could have the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 23 and the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30 as goals for Bern Identity this winter at Gulfstream.

“He really came running,” Breen said, “and I think the race qualified him as a contender as both a distance horse and for the major races next winter.”

Bern Identity, winner of the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga earlier this season, has matured since winning a maiden race at Belmont in wire-to-wire fashion going five furlongs on June 1.

“We always knew he was a fast animal, but now that he’s shown he can rate it makes him more versatile,” said Breen. “If we need the speed it’s there for us, but the way he’s relaxing, it makes him a better horse.”

Breen was also eager to get a good look at Pants On Fire when he arrives at Palm Meadows. Breen noted that Pants On Fire acted up in the starting gate in the Delta Mile.

“Although he acted up in the gate, they never backed him out of there and it looked at quick glance while he was unsaddling like he’d gashed his left ankle and could have had that during the running of the race,” said Breen. “I just don’t think he had the mindset of being ready to run when they sprung the gate, so in that regard, we do have a little bit of an excuse for his performance.”

Breen said his barn figures to be quiet during the early stages of the Gulfstream meet but that he will likely run grass specialist Sleepless Knight closing day at Calder in the Tropical Turf Handicap. Sleepless Knight, who is a multiple Grade 3 winner on turf, has not started since finishing second against allowance company at Delaware Park on Aug. 30.

“I’ve entered him in several races that were taken off the grass in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and he’s sitting on go,” said Breen. “So if it looks like the Tropical Turf isn’t coming up too tough, he’ll run.”

Rosario to ride at Gulfstream

The Gulfstream Park jockey colony will feature several new additions this season including Joel Rosario, who will test his skills locally for the first time this winter. Rosario is tied for second in the standings at Aqueduct behind Ramon Dominguez. Rosario finished third during the Belmont fall session and fifth this summer at Saratoga after moving his tack to the East Coast for the first time in his career.

Agent Ron Anderson will continue to handle Rosario’s engagements in south Florida, and said his rider will return to the Dominican Republic for a brief vacation next week before arriving locally in time for Gulfstream’s opening day, Dec. 1.

Sunshine State looking popular

Little Drama, Fort Loudon, and Close It Out are among the 27 horses nominated to the $100,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 2.

Little Drama is coming off a second-place effort in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler at Belmont Park. Fort Loudon finished second behind Neck ’n Neck earlier this month in Churchill Downs’s Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, while Close It Out upset Calder’s Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap with a big last-to-first run on Nov. 10.

The Sunshine State is carded at seven furlongs.

Naples Bay tops My Charmer

A field of eight filly and mare grass specialists led by trainer Christophe Clement’s Naples Bay will decide Thursday’s Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap at Calder. Naples Bay will share high weight of 119 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile My Charmer along with Hooh Why, who captured Gulfstream Park’s Florida Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf in her 2012 debut.

The remainder of the My Charmer field comprises Kya One, Janicellaine, Wicked Night, Callmethesqueeze, Speak Easy Gal, and My Pal Chrissy.

◗ Steve Dwoskin opened a commanding lead in the Tropical at Calder trainer standings after winning four races on Sunday’s card. Dwoskin’s four-bagger was completed by his top 2-year-old filly prospect Ashlee’s Princess, who rallied to her second straight win in a 5 1/2-furlong entry-level allowance dash.