01/11/2012 3:01PM

Gulfstream: Salary Drive back from break

Barbara D. Livingston
New Normal has yet to race beyond a mile.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Salary Drive, whose last start came against Winter Memories in the Grade 1 Garden City, meets older horses for the first time in her career when she will be among the top contenders in Friday’s $60,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park, to be decided at a 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Salary Drive has had a steady diet of stakes since winning her maiden race over a sloppy main track here last March for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. A homebred daughter of Mizzen Mast owned and bred by Joel Kligman, Salary Drive was a stakes winner on grass at Penn National at 3 and was also graded stakes-placed, albeit a distant third behind R Heat Lightning in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks earlier in the year. Salary Drive turned in one of her better efforts in the Garden City, finishing sixth but fewer than three lengths behind Winter Memories, who was considered among the elite 3-year-old turf fillies in the country in 2011.

“We decided to give her a break after the Garden City because she’d had a tough campaign and deserved a little R and R,” said Plesa, who won three races on last Saturday’s card.

Salary Drive has been forwardly placed in the majority of races but rallied from last to a two-length victory in Penn National’s Dauphin Ms. Stakes in July.

“She broke badly at Penn,” said Plesa, noting that jockey C.C. Lopez “didn’t hurry her. He let her relax. She got in gear and won that race.

“She’s training well and might be a little aggressive the first time back, but hopefully that won’t hinder her from relaxing again, because from the look of the field that would probably enhance her chances.”

There is plenty of pace among the 11 fillies and mares entered in Friday’s main event, with Cumulonimble, New Normal, Kiss the Stars, Prize Informant, and Mutually Benefit all capable of racing on the lead.

The biggest question marks in the race may be the English-bred Submission and Here to Win.

Submission won 2 of 5 starts at 3 in Great Britain for trainer Luca Cumani. She is presently under the tutelage of Christophe Clement and will race on Lasix for the first time Friday.

Here to Win was a Group 1 winner in South Africa earlier in her career but never picked up her feet when she caught a yielding turf course at Laurel for her U.S. debut, finishing a nonthreatening eighth in the Lady Baltimore Stakes on Oct. 22.

New Normal was a graded stakes winner at 2 for trainer Mark Frostad but has started just once since capturing Woodbine’s 6 1/2-furlong Alywow last June and has never raced beyond a mile.