09/17/2006 11:00PM

Gimme Credit threat on dirt, mud, or turf


ELMONT, N.Y. - The fragile condition of Belmont's turf courses, combined with a forecast that called for a 60 percent chance of showers Tuesday, make it unclear whether Wednesday's $65,000 Wanderkin Stakes will remain on the turf.

The Wanderkin, restricted to New York-bred 3-year-old males, is scheduled for one mile on the Widener Turf. The race drew 16 horses, including two main track-only entrants.

Jockeys complained about the condition of Belmont's turf on Sept. 9, and those concerns, coupled with several days of rain last week, meant there have been just two races run on the turf since Sept. 10. The racing office scheduled four grass races for Wednesday.

Gimme Credit brings a four-race winning streak into the Wanderkin and will be a deserving favorite. His trainer, Tim Hills, said Gimme Credit would likely run on either turf or dirt, but he is somewhat leery of running him on yielding turf. Gimme Credit's last three grass wins have all come on firm ground.

"He doesn't have a classic turf foot, he has a mudder's foot," Hills said Monday from Keeneland.

Gimme Credit displayed that mudder's foot here on June 24, winning an off-the turf New York-bred maiden race by four lengths in the slop. Hills credits Gimme Credit's reversal of form since his 2-year-old season - when he went 0 for 5 - to the horse's being gelded over the winter.

"Plus, he's a son of Artax and they seem to get better with age,'' Hills said. "He was a dramatically different horse when he came in this year.''

After beating statebreds in two allowance races, Gimme Credit won the Equalize Stakes at Saratoga against open company. Though he was a perfect-trip winner behind two speed horses, Gimme Credit's ability to relax was another sign of maturity, Hills said.

"Last time he had something to run at and he didn't have to be choked down,'' Hills said. "As soon as he got the lead, he pulled up, switched leads, and started to wait on horses.''

Silver Timber is 3 for 3 sprinting on turf, but his off-the-pace style suggests he should be able to get additional ground. Classic Pack won a division of the New York Stallion Stakes on firm turf, and should appreciate cutting back to one mile.

Though not designated as main-track-only entrants, Run Red Run, Indian Hawke, and Ferocious Fires would be Gimme Credit's major threats on dirt. Always Albert and Shuffling Madness were entered for dirt only.