01/10/2009 1:00AM

Kiss the Kid's prep better than expected

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Trainer Amy Tarrant was using Saturday's $100,000 Fort Lauderdale as a prep for her main goal this winter with Kiss the Kid, the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf on Feb. 23. What a prep it was.

Kiss the Kid rallied from just off the pace to register a neck victory over fellow longshots Society's Chairman and A. P. Magic in the 1o1/16-mile Fort Lauderdale. Buffalo Man, the 5-2 favorite, was never a serious factor, checking home a disappointing eighth in the field of 11 turf specialists.

Kiss the Kid notched his only victory of 2008 in his season finale, capturing the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands on Oct. 10. Tarrant admitted she thought the versatile son of Lemon Drop Kid might need a race coming off the three-month layoff.

But under a perfectly judged ride by Elvis Trujillo, who had already won two races on the card, Kiss the Kid stalked the early leaders, rallied three wide into the stretch, and outfinished Society's Chairman. Society's Chairman had forged to a short advantage leaving the eighth pole and continued on gamely to the end. A. P. Magic set the pace before succumbing grudgingly through the final furlong to finish a half-length behind Society's Chairman.

Kiss the Kid, who last year finished third here over the main track in both the Grade 1 Donn and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap, covered the distance over a firm course in 1:40.59 seconds and paid $24.60.

"That last win gave me a lot of confidence, but he had been off three months, and I thought he'd need a race going into the Gulfstream Park Turf," said Tarrant who also owns Kiss the Kid. "But what really surprised me the most was the price, that he was so unfavored by the public. But then again, he was 45-1 in the Donn and everybody thought I was crazy for running him in that race, and he finished third."

Saturday's victory, Kiss the Kid's fourth win on grass, swelled his career bankroll to more than $534,000. He is also a stakes winner on dirt.

"He's good on both surfaces, although I think he's a little better on grass," said Tarrant.