01/29/2010 12:00AM

Fountain prospects seek to emerge


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - While the focus of attention here at Gulfstream Park on Sunday will be on the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes and the 2010 debut of Eclipse Award champion She Be Wild, the undercard is easily the best of the meet and includes a first-level allowance race for 3-year-old colts and geldings that showcases several potential candidates for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 20.

Foremost among that group is Pulsion, who makes his first start since finishing a troubled 11th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and first on dirt. Trainer Patrick Biancone had to give Pulsion some time off to heal up from cuts he suffered when he got roughed up entering the opening turn of the Juvenile, but is pleased the way Pulsion has trained up to his 3-year-old debut.

"This is just the first step in a long year, but so far so good," said Biancone. "He is kind of a lazy horse in the morning, but he's been doing his job and he's also a lot more mature now than he was as a 2-year-old. He needs a prep race to see how he'll handle the dirt, but if everything goes well I'll bring him back for the Fountain of Youth."

Another top contender in the 1 1/8-mile allowance is She Be Wild's improving stablemate Best Actor. A son of Rock Hard Ten owned by Gary and Mary West, Best Actor is coming off a four-length maiden win going a mile here on Jan. 7.

"This is a very important race for me," said Wayne Catalano, who trains both She Be Wild and Best Actor. "He already has a nice race over the track and has worked very well since then, and I'd think those two factors have to benefit him against some of the others making their first starts of the meet. These are the kind of races you want to be in down here, and if he runs well I'll probably try him in the Fountain of Youth."

Trainer Bill Mott sends out one of his top 3-year-old prospects as well on Sunday in Drosselmeyer, who continues to improve with every start. A son of Distorted Humor owned by WinStar, Drosselmeyer closed out his juvenile campaign with a six-length maiden win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 18, earning an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

There are several other notable races on Sunday's card. Race 2, a seven-furlong high-priced optional claimer, will feature the returns of stablemates Our Edge and Brave Victory, both of whom started in important 3-year-old races last year for trainer Nick Zito.

Our Edge, seven-length winner of the Grade 3 Barbaro at Delaware Park in mid-July, has not run since finishing a tiring sixth in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby. Brave Victory, third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan at 3, has been away since finishing seventh in the Belmont Stakes.

The field also includes the stakes-placed Starforaday and Group 3 winner Elusive Warning.

Three-year old fillies not quite ready for the Forward Gal will also have their chance in Sunday's fourth race, a one-mile entry-level allowance that lured Mambo Fever, runner-up behind Ailalea in the Grade 3 Tempted, and Protesting, second to Tizahit in the Grade 2 Demoiselle in their juvenile finales.

Rose gives thanks for milestone

Jockey Jeremy Rose, who rode his 2,000th winner here Thursday, got to work on his next milestone when he guided Thomas the Great to victory for Zito in Friday's second race.

"I was happy to get 2,000 as quick as I did, after only nine years," said Rose, 30. "And I was really excited about getting my 2,000th for one of the trainers, Graham Motion, who has helped me so much during my career. Graham, Steve Klesaris, and Tony Dutrow have all been such a big help to me over the years."

Rose, best known for guiding Afleet Alex to victories in the 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes, last rode here regularly in 2006.

"I thought the jockey colony here in 2006 was the best I'd ever seen, but this year's group is even stronger, the best in the country," said Rose. "Winning 2,000 races is nothing next to so many of these guys. But I'm very happy to be here and to be doing well competing against these kind of riders."

Rose's victory on Friday was his 11th of the meet and put him in a tie for sixth in the standings with Jose Lezcano.

* Jesus Castanon and Cornelio Velasquez were the other riding stars on Thursday's card, each posting a hat trick on the nine-race program. For Velasquez, the three-bagger pulled him out of an uncharacteristic slump that saw him win just two races over the first 18 days of the meet.

* D' Funnybone, a multiple Grade 2 stakes winner at 2 for trainer Rick Dutrow, continues to train forwardly for his return. D' Funnybone worked six furlongs Friday in 1:14.04 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:27.57 under jockey Edgar Prado while breezing in company with stablemate Alma d'Oro. D'Funnybone is expected to make his 3-year-old debut in the seven-furlong, Grade 2 Hutcheson on Feb. 20.