04/22/2009 11:00PM

Lady Rizzi faces males in turf sprint


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Lady Rizzi, who finished seventh last time out in the $75,000 Tampa Turf Dash, drops a notch in class when she takes on male rivals, including the ageless wonder Rockhurst, in Saturday's Tampa Bay feature. The second-level allowance has a $32,000 claiming option and will be run at five furlongs on the turf.

Lady Rizzi didn't disgrace herself when she faced males in the Turf Dash and was beaten less than four lengths. In her prior start, the 6-year-old mare overcame traffic problems at Gulfstream to win a five-furlong turf race by 1 1/2 lengths. Trained by Linda Rice, Lady Rizzi had a pair of wins and a second from seven starts in a light campaign last year, winning turf sprints at Gulfstream and Saratoga while splitting her time between high-priced optional claiming and stakes company.

Dean Butler is named to ride Lady Rizzi, who is entered for $32,000 on Saturday.

The 10-year-old Rockhurst was the toast of Fair Grounds this winter, scoring four straight wins over the turf. He returns to trainer Mike Dini's barn - where he has spent most of the past four seasons - and will be going for his 16th career victory and 13th on turf.

Rockhurst, whose career was salvaged several years back through treatment in a hyperbaric chamber, won 3 of 11 starts last season, and has been flawless this year while racing with midlevel claiming sprinters on the turf. He rallied from off the pace to take three straight over the Fair Grounds turf course in 5 1/2-furlong races, then last time out showed more speed to duel throughout while winning his fourth in a row.

Unbridled Heat, who is entered for the claiming price in this race, showed speed to midstretch of the Turf Classic on Florida Cup Day with statebreds and will be dropping into the optional claiming ranks after making his first two starts this season against stakes company.

Mike Allen will handle Unbridled Heat for trainer Charles Fontana.

Bold Captain, who has also faced stakes runners in his first two starts locally, comes off a layoff. He must be considered after finishing fourth behind Triple Crown contenders Musket Man and General Quarters in the Pasco Stakes in January.

* In the co-featured seventh race for optional claiming runners at the $50,000 level, Brinca, who has had traffic problems when fourth and third, respectively, in the Florida Oaks and Sophomore Filly Stakes on Florida Cup Day, turns back a bit in distance and looks formidable. She will meet Prissy Foxy, who came off a six-month layoff to romp to an 11o1/2-length win over $12,500 claiming sprinters while racing just three-fifths of a second off the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs.