03/06/2012 12:21PM

Gulfstream Park: Self Control tries to straighten out in allowance


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That’s a theory trainer Chad Brown is trying to impart to his talented but still somewhat misguided Self Control, who’ll be among the favorites in Thursday’s wide-open $62,750 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Self Control has finished second in his first two starts at the meet. On Dec. 8, Self Control chased home the red-hot Troilus who recently finished second behind the odds-on Force Freeze in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship. In his most recent start, Self Control turned in arguably the best performance of his career, only to come out on the short end of a head decision with Simba’s Story while finishing in a dead heat for the runner-up spot with E. H. Indy.

“We know he can run, the biggest issues with this horse are mentally,” said Brown, who trains the homebred Self Control for Gary and Mary West Stables Inc. “He has a habit of lugging in through the stretch. We’ve tinkered around and tried a few different things to work on the habit in the morning. If we can fix that problem and get him to finally run straight, he should gain a few lengths, and that would make a big difference.”

E. H. Indy will be among the competition once again in Thursday’s 1 1/8-mile headliner. Like Self Control, E. H. Indy also has been a source of some frustration this winter for his trainer, Angel Penna Jr., as he too has been narrowly defeated in both local starts. Prior to dead-heating with Self Control, E. H. Indy also was second, beaten a neck by Simbamangu, in his first start of the session Dec. 31.

The most recognizable name in the field is Believe in A. P. who will be facing males for the first time in her career, if she competes Thursday. Believe in A. P. has not started since finishing third under similar allowance conditions against fillies and mares last summer at Saratoga. As a 2-year-old, Believe in A. P. finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies before closing her 2010 campaign by becoming graded stakes placed when second in Aqueduct’s Grade 2 Demoiselle.

Believe in A. P. has worked steadily and at times extremely well here this winter for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr.

Devon Rock has been a workhorse throughout the meet, having already started five times since Dec. 4. A versatile sort, Devon Rock is yet another member of the field to have come out second best in each of his last two starts, most recently when competing at 1 7/16 miles over the turf.