01/30/2013 3:47PM

Gulfstream Park: Beau Choix won't have it easy in Friday feature

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Beau Choix, on the outside, outnods Upgrade in the Rob N Gin at Belmont last October. They meet again in the Friday feature at Gulfstream.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Barclay Tagg put his multiple stakes winner Beau Choix into Friday’s $65,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park hoping to find a little softer spot for him. Instead, Beau Choix will line up against a stakes-caliber group that also includes Grade 3 winner Upgrade, the multiple Grade 3 winner Get Serious, the Grade 3-placed Empire Builder, multiple stakes winner Decisive Moment, the Group 1 South American winner Grand Berry, and the red-hot Major Marvel.

“These races are always tough down here, all the best horses are in town for the winter,” Tagg said. “My horse has won four minor stakes, so there aren’t a lot of places to run him. I hoped trying an allowance might be easier for him, but these kinds of races are always preps for something and draw top horses.”

Beau Choix is no slouch himself, having outfinished Upgrade in a head-bobbing finish to win the Rob N Gin overnight stakes going seven furlongs over the Belmont turf course on Oct. 12. The stretch-running Beaux Choix closed his 2012 campaign here in December finishing seventh, beaten less than four lengths, after a very unlucky trip in the El Prado.

“He’s a nice, reliable horse,” Tagg said of the 6-year-old Beau Choix. “The old fellow tries hard every time and is reasonably sound. Pace is always the key for him, considering his running style, and hopefully they’ll be enough pace in the race for him on Friday.”

The pace in Friday’s one-mile main event figures to come from Decisive Moment and perhaps Get Serious. Decisive Moment will try grass for just the second time in his career. He finished sixth after contesting the pace into the stretch of the Grade 3 Appleton in his turf course debut here last spring.

Get Serious failed to show his best speed in the El Prado and may have lost a step or two at the age of 9, although he was still good enough last summer to successfully defend his title in Monmouth Park’s Grade 3 Red Bank.

Upgrade makes his first start since finishing ninth after an unlucky trip in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and second since being outnodded by Beau Choix three weeks earlier in the Rob N Gin. Upgrade will be reunited with jockey John Velazquez, who guided him to his most notable victory, a three-quarter-length decision over Right One late last spring in Belmont’s Grade 3 Jaipur.

Empire Builder returns to allowance company for the first time in nearly ninth months. The versatile son of Kitten’s Joy was sixth following a tough trip in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale and finished in front of Beau Choix despite being hung wide throughout three weeks earlier in the El Prado.

Major Marvel has defeated starter-allowance competition in his last two starts, but was a stakes winner over the turf last summer at Mountaineer Park.