01/14/2009 1:00AM

Forest Command impresses in allowance


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Forest Command served notice he will be a force to reckon with in the handicap division this season when he drew away under jockey Edgar Prado to an easy victory over Dream Maestro in Wednesday's $44,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Forest Command, a homebred son of Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, was unraced at 2 and lightly campaigned at 3 last year by owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward. An easy entry-level allowance victory last summer at Saratoga quickly catapulted Forest Command into graded stakes company, where he finished third in both the Grade 2 Super Derby and Grade 3 Ack Ack to close out his 2008 campaign.

On Wednesday, Forest Command covered the mile in 1:36.93.

"From a 48 [second] half to a 1:36 mile, that's pretty impressive," Ward said. "He suffered a quarter crack in his heel in his last start at Churchill Downs, and this race today was the kind of race we thought he'd run against those older horses in Kentucky."

Ward said neither he nor Oxley have made any plans just yet for Forest Command, although both pretty much ruled out the Donn Handicap when asked about the possibility of wheeling back in the Grade 1 race on Jan. 31.

"We just wanted to see how this one went today before thinking ahead, although there probably isn't enough time to get him back for the Donn," Ward said, with Oxley nodding in agreement. "But there is a mile race for $300,000 coming up a little later that could be interesting."

Ward was referring to the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap March 14.

Primary Witness wins his debut

In summer 2004, a 3-year-old named Primary Suspect began his career by winning his debut by more than 10 lengths at Monmouth Park while earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 100. On Wednesday, Primary Suspect's full brother Primary Witness also launched his career on a winning note, albeit not quite so easily, with a hard-fought victory over the even-money Stomp in a maiden special weight dash for 3-year-olds.

Like Primary Suspect, Primary Witness is owned by his breeder, Lee Lewis, and trained by Mark Hennig. By Hennessy out of the Affirmed mare Deb's Honor, Primary Suspect went on to have a pretty nice career following his impressive debut, earning more than $240,000 for Lewis while posting five more triple-digit Beyers along the way. His most important victory came in the Grade 3 Toboggan in 2005.

"There's really nothing similar about the two horses other than they both won their first starts," Hennig said. "They're not even the same color. Primary Suspect was a chestnut and built more like a sprinter. Primary Witness is a bay and longer bodied, so maybe he'll stretch out some."

Field of seven for Mr. Prospector

Kelly's Landing and Black Seventeen will carry high weight of 122 pounds each in a field of seven older sprint specialists who will do battle in Saturday's Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Handicap.

Kelly's Landing, winner of the 2007 Dubai Golden Shaheen, will break from the rail under jockey Julian Leparoux. The well-travelled Black Seventeen, winner of the Grade 1 Vosburgh in September, will start from post 4 under regular rider Clinton Potts.

The field also includes Granizo, How's Your Halo, Ikigai, He's So Chic, and Rollers.

The Mr. Prospector is one of two stakes races on Saturday's card along with the $100,000 Dania Beach for 3-year-olds on the turf. The one-mile Dania Beach lured a full field of 14, led by the undefeated Kopitar.

Any Limit drills for First Lady Handicap

Any Limit, winner of the Grade 2 First Flight and Honorable Miss handicaps last summer in New York, likely earned herself a berth in Sunday's Grade 3 First Lady Handicap here after working four furlongs in 48.60 seconds under jockey Cornelio Velasquez here Wednesday.

"I think we've seen the best she's going to be," trainer Allen Jerkens said. "If she doesn't run well Sunday, she'll probably be bred."

Any Limit, a 6-year-old homebred daughter of Limit Out owned by Joseph V. Shields Jr., last ran here during winter 2007 when she captured the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Handicap and finished second in the Graded 2 Shirley Jones.

Jerkens won his third race of the meet from just a dozen starters when Granted Tiger captured Wednesday's fourth race under jockey Shannon Uske.

A small field is likely for the six-furlong First Lady, and along with Any Limit could include Ashley's Kitty, Game Face, J Z Warrior, Officer in Pursuit, Saratoga Tango, and Secret Gypsy, according to stakes coordinator Alan Fox.

* Tale of Ekati breezed an easy five furlongs in 1:02.60 here Wednesday for trainer Barclay Tagg. Tale of Ekati, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Cigar Mile, is expected to launch his campaign in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Richter Scale on Feb. 14.