02/25/2013 4:28PM

Gulfstream: Speed to spare in Wednesday feature

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Miss Suwanee has been hard used on the lead in her last two starts.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.– Figuring out there is a lot of speed in Wednesday’s $54,500 optional claiming headliner going five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park grass course is easy. Trying to predict who is going to win the race, now that’s a different story.

It’s Saturday Nite, Heaven Knows What, Miss Suwanee, and D’princess are among the leading contenders in the wide-open turf dash, each with a similar running style, having done their best work to date on or near the lead.

Trained by Christophe Clement, It’s Saturday Nite is coming off a 4 1/2-length maiden special weight victory making her turf debut on Jan. 10. A daughter of Put It Back, It’s Saturday Night forced a 22.04-second opening quarter and 44.93-second half-mile before drawing away to her first victory in five starts. The 82 Beyer Speed Figure she earned for that performance was not only the best of her career but is easily the best last-race Beyer Figure of any member of the field for Wednesday’s main event.

Heaven Knows What was a hard-luck second under similar conditions here four weeks earlier, forcing a similarly quick pace before proving no match for Brilliant Katie, who edged away to a clear victory in late stretch.

Miss Suwanee has been hard used on the lead in her last two starts, missing by a head to the red-hot Spun Cap in her 2013 debut before finishing fifth as the tepid 2-1 favorite against similar opposition three weeks later.

D’princess will make her south Florida debut and first start since being transferred to trainer David Fawkes’s barn four weeks ago. D’princess is the only three-time winner in the lineup, although she’s yet to post a victory in three tries on grass.

Fawkes said that owner William McCarty “sent me three horses from out west and I’ve had her about a month.”

“She’s been working real well over the main track at Calder but gives the impression she’ll be okay on the grass,” he said. “I know there is a lot of speed in this field and that’s always a concern, but Paco [Lopez] rides those races well, so I’ll just let him feel her out and try to put her in the right spot.”

Kaleidoscope is the one proven closer in the lineup and could become the major beneficiary of a protracted speed duel. She rallied from ninth in early stretch to finish fourth behind Spun Cap, Miss Suwanee, and Brilliant Katie in her lone start this winter on Jan. 9.

Completing the field are Jim’s Lonesa, a wire-to-wire maiden winner over the course in her 3-year-old finale; the undefeated Wicked Romance; Will to Shine and Mythical Bride, both of whom turn back to a sprint off recent two-turn races; and longshot Countess Emma.