08/11/2008 11:00PM

Idiot Proof makes move to the turf


DEL MAR, Calif. - The one time that the crack sprinter Idiot Proof competed on Del Mar's Polytrack surface last summer, he ran the worst race of his life. Fresh off a track-record performance at Monmouth, Idiot Proof regressed 40 points, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 73.

That is among the reasons why Idiot Proof is moving to the turf for the first time on Wednesday, in the $80,000 Green Flash Handicap at five furlongs at Del Mar. The speedy Idiot Proof has not run since finishing second to Benny the Bull in the Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 29. The plan after that race, according to trainer Cliff Sise Jr., was to give him a vacation, then bring him back at Del Mar.

But that race from last year hovered. Sise said Idiot Proof was not going to be ready for the six-furlong Bing Crosby Handicap earlier in the meet, and he does not want to bring Idiot Proof back off a layoff in a seven-furlong race, like the Pat O'Brien Handicap later this meet. And after Idiot Proof worked sharply on the turf on July 20, when he zipped five furlongs in 58.80 seconds - the best time of 12 at the distance that day - running on turf seemed like a great option.

"No matter what he does here, he'll run next in the Ancient Title," Sise said of the Grade 1 race at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting, which Idiot Proof won last year. "Then he'll run in the Breeders' Cup. But if he runs great on turf, it would give us two options for the Breeders' Cup, with the Turf Sprint, too. And then we can look at races like in Hong Kong, then freshen him up and go back to Dubai. You run 1-2-3 in those races, you're making some money."

First things first. Idiot Proof will face six rivals, three of whom own wins on this course, five of whom have experience on turf. Idiot Proof is clearly, however, the best horse in the race if he fires his best shot.

"He's looks better than he did last year," Sise said. "He's gained weight. He's definitely better now."

Get Funky is shortening up to five furlongs after winning the six-furlong Kerlan Memorial on the Hollywood turf on July 6.

Another late threat is Bonfante, who has won 3 of his last 4 starts, including the Bay Meadows Sprint Championship at five furlongs on turf.

Barber, the defending champ in the Green Flash, and Peace Chant, a stakes-class sprinter trying turf for the first time, add significant depth to the race.

The horse who should be closest to Idiot Proof early is Magic Texan, who won a five-furlong grass race here against allowance company last summer.