12/31/2008 12:00AM

Full gate for Hal's Hope

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The 2009 Gulfstream Park meeting will get off to a fast start on Saturday with a 10-race program that includes two stakes, the $100,000 Spectacular Bid for 3-year-olds and the Grade 3, $100,000 Hal's Hope for older horses.

The 2009 Gulfstream meeting runs through April 23.

With a full field of 14 entered, the one-mile Hal's Hope could turn out to be one of the best wagering events of the meet. Delightful Kiss, Anak Nakal, and It's a Bird will share high weight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the event.

Delightful Kiss won a pair of Grade 3 races for trainer Pete Anderson before closing out the year finishing fourth in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Marathon and second behind Einstein in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap.

Anak Nakal competed in two of the three legs of last year's Triple Crown, finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Belmont Stakes. He registered his most important victory for trainer Nick Zito when upsetting the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.

It's a Bird capped off a three-race win streak at Calder with his game head decision over Gottcha Gold in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap.

Other key contenders in the Hal's Hope include Finallymadeit, Now a Victor, Famous Patriot, Cuba, and National Pride.

The six-furlong Spectacular Bid is the first in a series of traditional stakes races for 3-year-olds at Gulfstream leading up to the meet's marquee event, the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 28. Although the Spectacular Bid is not likely to have an impact on the Florida Derby, the race drew a competitive field of eight 3-year-olds, led by Silent Valor and speedsters You Luckie Mann and Notonthesamepage.

Silent Valor won Monmouth Park's Grade 3 Sapling at six furlongs before closing out the year finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Norfolk and eighth following a slow start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. John Velazquez will be aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher.

You Luckie Mann and Notonthesamepage were two of the fastest horses in North America as 2-year-olds, according to the Beyer Speed Figures. You Luckie Man earned the highest Beyer of the season, a 107, for his victory in Calder's Birdonthewire Stakes in his juvenile finale, while Notonthesamepage earned the third-best number last season, a 104, for winning a maiden race going 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs in April.

The remainder of the field includes Jazzandthemagician, who turns back in distance off a sixth-place finish in Churchill's Grade 3 Kentucky Jockey Club, Vinnies Wild Tale, Under Contract, Put It Back Twenty, and Bee Cee Cee.