02/21/2004 12:00AM

Host preps on turf for dirt

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - In his first start outside out of his native Chile, ran into a couple of North America's classiest turf horses when he finished second between Del Mar Show and With Anticipation here on Feb. 5.

Host should find the company a little softer on Monday when he returns on short rest in a $46,000 classified allowance at Gulfstream Park. Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Host, is using the nine-furlong turf race to get Host to the UAE Derby, a $2 million dirt race in Dubai on March 27. As a South American-bred, Host does not officially turn 4 until July, thereby making him eligible for the UAE Derby, a race for 3-year-olds.

Host was a group stakes winner on turf and dirt in Chile, where he won 5 of 6 starts. Eugene Melnyk purchased him privately at the end of last year. In his North American debut, Host put in a solid performance, finishing one length behind Del Mar Show and 4 1/4 lengths ahead of With Anticipation.

"It was a good race for him, he ran against some classy horses,'' Pletcher said. "When you buy one from Chile the biggest question you have is what kind of horses they've been running against. His performance made you believe the form he showed in Chile was for real.''

John Velazquez will ride Host from post 5 in the eight-horse field.

Bill Mott will send out Orchard Park. As a 3-year-old, Orchard Park won 5 of 7 starts, including two stakes over the Gulfstream turf. But, Orchard Park has only run four times in the last 18 months and did not hit the board in any of those starts.

Serial Bride, who rallied strongly to win a $62,500 claiming race on Jan. 28, could offer value as he takes a step up in class. Serial Bride won the Manila Stakes at The Meadowlands in October 2002 and figures to be running late under Joe Bravo.

Mark One drops in class and distance following a fourth-place finish in the 11-furlong Mac Diarmida Handicap on Jan. 25. In a race void of speed, he could try and take this field gate to wire under Eibar Coa.

Full Flow, First Lieutenant, Atiba, and the Peruvian-bred Latino round out the field.

* Also on Monday's card, Maybe Jack makes the 115th start of his career in a $10,000 claiming race that goes as race 6. Maybe Jack, an 11-year-old gelding, won for $8,000 here on Jan. 17.