02/24/2005 1:00AM

G P Fleet's Beyer says he's the one


NEW YORK - In comparison to next week's huge Big Cap card at Santa Anita and the big Fountain of Youth program at Gulfstream Park, this will be a relatively quiet Saturday in terms of stakes action.

The highest-graded and richest stakes race Saturday is the Grade 2, $150,000 San Carlos Handicap at Santa Anita, which unfortunately lacks two big names that were originally considered for it, Pico Central and Cajun Beat. I'll pass that one and zero in on the following three big races:

Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap

There were several noteworthy trips in Fair Grounds's prelude to this race, last month's Colonel E. R. Bradley Handicap, including America Alive getting up despite a traffic-filled stretch run and Honor in War just missing despite going six wide into the stretch. Both are back Saturday. But, there are more reasons to bet a horse not coming out of the Bradley, G P Fleet.

G P Fleet actually comes out of a stronger race than the Bradley, the Sunshine Millions Turf at Santa Anita. The first three finishers in that race were Star Over the Bay, A to the Z, and Silver Tree, and all are tougher horses than he faces in this event. G P Fleet figures to enjoy the return to his winter home base, and he won four of his five starts before his recent loss. One victory came in last fall's River City Handicap, when he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105. That figure is higher than what many of his opponents Saturday have ever earned, and better than what his remaining opponents have earned in a long time.

Moreover, G P Fleet projects to fall into a beautiful trip. There is precious little early speed, and he figures to sit a close third or fourth off initial fractions that promise to be moderate at best.

Sabin Handicap

I have considerable respect for Daydreaming, and in fact believe she can be one of the best older fillies and mares in the country this year. But on Saturday, she will have to go 1 1/8 miles off a three-month layoff, and I have trouble taking horses in that kind of position, especially at low odds.

Pampered Princess is the pick, as she was the definition of "game," winning the Banshee Breeze Stakes at the distance over the track last month. Pampered Princess was pressured on the early lead, and was passed by the rail-skimming favorite, Isola Piu Bella, in upper stretch. But Pampered Princess fought back and put Isola Piu Bella away, then resisted a late run from the fresh challenger Adobe Gold. Unless Path of Thunder is used as a sacrificial lamb early, Pampered Princess should have an easier time in front this time, and that should make her even tougher to beat.

Sam F. Davis Stakes

With Andromeda's Hero marooned in the outside post, his entrymate G P's Black Knight having failed to finish in his last appearance, and Killenaule coming off an inexplicably poor performance, this is a good spot to go searching for a price. With that in mind, Captain Lindsay is the selection to pull off the upset.

Captain Lindsay was a distant second last time out in the Pasco Stakes, but he finished in front of 12 opponents, which is certainly worth something. Not only is Captain Lindsay in decent form, but he has appeal because he has the pedigree and running style that suggest he can be more effective off the stretchout to two turns here. There is a lot of suspect early speed, and with his grinding style, Captain Lindsay could be in a position to strike at good odds.


Tampa Bay Downs: Sam F. Davis Stakes
3-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles
Approximate post: Eastern-4:25 p.m., Central-3:25 p.m., Mountain-2:25 p.m.Pacific-1:25 p.m.; Tampa, Fl., forecast: Slight chance of rain, 74 degrees

2Oak Forest67613720-1
4Summer Legacy65565415-1
5G P's Black Knight-75683-1
7Captain Lindsay6971678-1
8Stormy Jim6582789-2
10Get Down7572-8-1
11Mad Adam58636215-1
12Andromeda's Hero7385673-1
Also Eligible:      
13Hail to the Cat65446515-1

Coupled: Summer Legacy and Hail to the Cat; G P's Black Knight and Andromeda's Hero;
track morning line odds

Gulfstream Park: Sabin Handicap
Fillies and mares, 3 and up, 1 1/8 miles
Approximate post: E-4:57 p.m.; C-3:57 p.m.; M-2:57 p.m., P-1:57 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Chance of thunderstorms, 78 degrees

1Pampered Princess9895917-2
3Isola Piu Bella94n/an/a7-2
4Valliant Dancer83758610-1
5Adobe Gold9874835-1
6Path of Thunder8290848-1

Odds by Michael Hammersly

Fair Grounds: Fair Grounds B.C. Handicap
4 and up, about 1 1/8 miles, turf
Approximate post: E-5:22 p.m., C-4:22 p.m., M-3:22 p.m., P-2:22 p.m.; New Orleans, La., forecast: Cloudy, 63 degrees

2Honor in War9691819-2
3Colorful Judgement88759412-1
4America Alive9692934-1
5Spruce Hero91817620-1
6G P Fleet91981053-1
8Rapid Proof9692908-1
9Sea Dub90899420-1

Track morning line odds