02/12/2003 12:00AM

Hennig odds-on for rebound


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - For the second time in five days, trainer Mark Hennig will send out an odds-on favorite in a Grade 3 sprint stakes race at Gulfstream Park. Hennig hopes Gold Mover fares better in Friday's $100,000 Shirley Jones Handicap than Gygistar did when he finished fifth as the 4-5 favorite in last Sunday's Deputy Minister Handicap.

Hennig has every reason to feel confident Gold Mover will be difficult to beat in her 2003 debut. She has won all four of her previous sprint starts over this track, is at her best at the seven-furlong distance of the Shirley Jones, and she has trained like gangbusters for her first appearance since winning Arlington Park's seven-furlong Safely Kept Handicap by nearly eight lengths on Breeders' Cup Day. The victory boosted Gold Mover's lifetime earnings above the $1 million mark.

Gold Mover, whose only defeat at Gulfstream came in the 1 1/16-mile Davona Dale Stakes at 3, registered the most significant victory of her career last summer at Calder when she outgamed Xtra Heat to win the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Handicap.

Regular rider Jerry Bailey will be aboard Gold Mover, who shares the 117-pound highweight assignment with Nonsuch Bay.

Nonsuch Bay will also be returning from a four-month hiatus on Friday, and like Gold Mover loves both this course and distance, having won both her starts at seven furlongs. Nonsuch Bay won Belmont's Grade 1, nine-furlong Mother Goose by 1 1/2 lengths last year at 3.

Trainer Frank Alexander had originally pointed Nonsuch Bay for last Saturday's Sabin Handicap, but was forced to alter plans after she spiked a temperature and missed some training in the weeks leading up to that race.

Trainer Todd Pletcher is hoping a change in venue and a race under her belt will help Harmony Lodge reverse her 12-length loss in Gold Mover's Safely Kept win. Harmony Lodge bounced back from that defeat and showed a new dimension when she rallied from off the pace to win the six-furlong First Lady Handicap here on Jan. 12.

"She's never been quite as effective going seven furlongs, but she's doing super and should like the track again, which gives us the incentive to try her in here," Pletcher said.

Rounding out the line-up are Forest Heiress, who tired after setting a contested pace in the First Lady, Preferred Option, and Away.

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