02/03/2010 12:00AM

Grasshopper wins in return


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Grasshopper made a successful return from a 9 1/2-month layoff as well as a successful debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, outgaming Gentleman James by a neck to capture Wednesday's $56,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Grasshopper, beaten a half-length by Street Sense in the 2007 Travers, was making his first start since finishing sixth in Keeneland's Grade 3 Ben Ali on April 19. He was transferred to McLaughlin's barn in August.

"That was like a Grade 2 race, I think," said McLaughlin, referring to a field that also included Diamond Stripes, Arson Squad and Buddy's Humor. "I was just happy we were able to get him started and happy he won. Hopefully he'll have a big future ahead of him."

McLaughlin said Grasshopper could return in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap at a mile on March 13.

"We could bring him back in the mile race here or the Carter in New York," said McLaughlin. "It would be great to win a Grade 1 win with him, because with his pedigree he should make a great stallion."