02/12/2013 3:52PM

Gulfstream Park: Authenticity opts for softer spot in Thursday allowance


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Authenticity is among the nominees for Sunday’s Grade 3 Sabin, but trainer Todd Pletcher has opted to take the more conservative route with his lightly raced mare, entering her instead for Thursday’s $54,500 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park rather than take on two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta and the multiple Grade 2 winner Grace Hall in the Sabin.

Authenticity has started only four times and just once since joining Pletcher’s barn last fall. She began her career with trainer Ian Wilkes, winning once in three tries before going to the sidelines after finishing second in an allowance race at Saratoga during summer 2011.

Authenticity, now 6, was bet to 4-5 despite an extended layoff when launching her comeback here Jan.  21, finishing third at a mile. She’ll stretch to 1 1/16 miles and go two turns in Thursday’s main event.

“I thought the Sabin might come up light in numbers, which is why we nominated and had it as a backup plan in case this race didn’t go,” Pletcher said. “She’s doing real well and trains like a nice filly. She kind of got stuck inside last time, but I thought she ran well off the long layoff.”

Authenticity drew post 2, an advantageous starting point in races carded at 1 1/16 miles over the main track here, and again figures to be heavily favored for her second start of the meet.

Trainer Rusty Arnold will try to double team Authenticity with the uncoupled pair of Cypress Pond and Annie Russell.

Cypress Pond is an improving daughter of Lemon Drop Kid who will return to the main track off a second-place effort against high-level conditioned claimers over the turf here last month. Cypress Pond won her maiden going 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Churchill Downs in her 3-year-old finale in late November.

Annie Russell also will move from turf to dirt while making her 2013 debut Thursday. Her lone victory came over the synthetic surface at Keeneland during the fall of her 2-year-old campaign in 2011.

Geisha Girl, likely to be the second choice in the wagering, also returns to the main track off a sixth-place finish on the grass here five weeks earlier. She must overcome a tough post as she drew the extreme outside in the field of nine.

Evening Surprise, well drawn on the rail, will try her fourth different racetrack in as many starts when making her local bow for trainer Shug McGaughey. Evening Surprise won her maiden at first asking over a sloppy track last summer at Monmouth Park, was outrun from an outside post over the Laurel turf in her only other start at 3, and then shipped to Tampa where she got beat a neck after setting the pace in her first start on a fast main track.