03/30/2007 11:00PM

Golden Prancer bred for move to turf


OLDSMAR, Fla. - There is always an air of anticipation when horses with strong turf breeding try the grass for the first time, and when Golden Prancer steps on the Tampa Bay Downs turf course for Monday's feature he certainly shouldn't step on his pedigree while going after his second straight career win for new trainer Bernell Rhone.

Golden Prancer's mother, Classic Reign, was a stakes winner on the turf, and her mother, No Class, rates as one of the best turf-producing broodmares in history. She has produced six stakes winners, topped by Sky Classic, a winner of 14 turf races, including the Rothmans International at Woodbine and the Turf Classic at Belmont. No Class also produced the million-dollar earner Regal Classic.

Perhaps it was the breeding that prompted Rhone to drop a claim slip in for $12,500 when Golden Prancer made his career debut early in March, and the investment looks good. Golden Prancer overcame a slow start in that six-furlong sprint, from the tough post 1, yet vied for the early lead He shook clear on the turn, then after opening a comfortable lead near midstretch, held sway.

While Golden Prancer will be trying turf and a middle distance for the first time, if he runs to his pedigree, he obviously will be a top threat in Monday's about one-mile race for $32,000 claiming runners that haven't won two races.

While Golden Prancer will get plenty of public support, four others come into Monday's race off wins and cannot be taken lightly.

Tops among them is Hopetown Hero, who came off a five-week break to win as the favorite on the main track at 6o1/2 furlongs. Prior to that race Hopetown Hero turned in a solid effort for second in his turf debut for a barn that does well with turf young runners.

Strike Golden and Bello Pappa justified their roles as favorites last out, winning as favorites.

Future Drama, from the barn of Charles Fontana, has a close second and third against allowance rivals on the turf and is the most seasoned runner of the group.

* There is free grandstand admission every Monday for the next four weeks as Tampa Bay Downs goes to a four-day-a-week schedule through April 29.