03/20/2004 12:00AM

Harbour Gate preps for Aventura


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Monday's program at Gulfstream Park will get off to a fast start in more ways than one.

Two of the more promising and swifter 3-year-olds to have run here this winter, Harbour Gate and Wild Wadi, will square off in the first race, carded at seven furlongs under entry-level allowance conditions.

Harbour Gate was scheduled to run last Monday in the Ocala Breeders' Championship around two turns but had to be scratched after unseating jockey Pat Day and running off while en route to the starting gate.

"He's always been a rogue," said George Handy, who trains Harbour Gate for owner-breeder Frances McDonnell. "Before we gelded him he was impossible to train and he's still very tough and headstrong."

Harbour Gate showed his potential in an impressive 6 1/2-length maiden victory over a strong field that included Intimidator, Medalist, and War Trace. He finished a tiring eighth in the Grade 2 Hutcheson in his only other start this winter.

Handy hopes to use Monday's allowance race as a springboard to the $250,000 Aventura Stakes on April 3.

Wild Wadi returned from an eight-month layoff for trainer Steve Young to post a two-length maiden win on Feb. 21, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure after covering seven furlongs in 1:22.69. Young purchased Wild Wadi privately for owners Jon and Sarah Kelly several months after he finished second in his career debut behind Rulers Court, one of the season's top 2-year-olds until he was sidelined by an injury late last fall.

Jerry Bailey, who rode Wild Wadi to his maiden win, will take the return call while Cornelio Velasquez replaces Pat Day on Harbour Gate.

Alena's Boy, Bride's Best Boy, Proud to be True, and Chowder's First complete the lineup.

Zakocity sold, stays with Wolfson

Zakocity, a wide-running fourth in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Day, has been purchased privately by owner Paul Pompa from the estate of the late John Franks and will remain with trainer Marty Wolfson to run in the Aventura.

Zakocity was trapped wide throughout while beaten three lengths in the Tampa Bay Derby. A son of Precocity bred by Franks, Zakocity finished second here in the Dave Feldman Stakes and third in Tampa's Sam F. Davis earlier this winter.

"He probably lost at least two or three lengths because of the trip at Tampa," said Wolfson. "A lot of the Franks horses are being sold off, especially the colts and geldings, and I was glad we could make this deal and I could keep the horse, at least for the time being."

"I was looking for a competitive 3-year-old for my stable," said Pompa, who also has seven horses in training with Gary Sciacca and six with Pat Reynolds. "He's already proven he can run with Grade 3 horses and since he was a May foal has the potential to improve as he gets older."

Wolfson also advised that Wynn Dot Comma, who upset Eurosilver to win the Grade 3 Swale Stakes on the Florida Derby undercard, will likely make his next start in the $75,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes here on April 10.

"Right now my main goal with him is the Carry Back Stakes this summer at Calder," said Wolfson.

Unappealing maiden draws money, claims

The most impressive performance on Friday's program came from the least likely source. Tie Break, a 3-year-old colt racing in a maiden $16,000 claiming race, had been beaten 30 1/2 lengths in his only previous start last November at Finger Lakes. Since then, he had only one official workout listed, a slow half-mile in 53 seconds at Palm Meadows, but went out and won by 11 1/2 lengths after covering six furlongs in 1:10.33.

Tie Break paid a relatively short price of $39.60 despite the unattractive form. According to an official from the mutuels department, Tie Break's odds dropped from 30-1 to 12-1 in one flash four minutes prior to post time before eventually drifting back up to his closing price of 19-1. Even more intriguing is the fact Tie Break attracted not one but two claims with the shake eventually won by trainer Carlos Morales.

Tie Break was originally purchased for $50,000 at the OBS 2-year-old sale in February 2003 and was racing on Lasix for the first time Friday. He was trained by Ruben Monjes for the Margarba Stable.

"The horse showed one work within the last 30 days and that's all that is required according to the rules," said association steward Charles Camac.

* All the good horses have not left south Florida just yet. Among the runners on Saturday morning's work tab at Palm Meadows, all of whom breezed a half-mile, were Binya (49.60), Harmony Lodge (50.80), Kitten's Joy (51.00), and Lucifer's Stone (49.00). All four were stakes winner during the current meet.