03/03/2010 12:00AM

Lentenor, Interactif have dirt on radar

Barbara D. Livingston
"Right now I'm just going to wait a little bit and see who's going where and probably look for something on the dirt," said Lentenor's trainer.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Saturday's Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes looked like a perfect spot for proven turf horses such as Lentenor and Interactif. Instead, their trainers decided to pass the race and wait for a different spot and perhaps a surface switch for their talented 3-year-olds.

Barbaro's full brother Lentenor was an impressive maiden winner on the turf here early in the meet before finishing second under entry-level allowance conditions over the same course on Feb. 17. He had his first work since that outing Wednesday at Palm Meadows, where he went an easy half-mile in 49.60 seconds over the main track.

"He worked very nicely today," said Lentenor's trainer, Michael Matz. "He did it all in hand. It was all I could ask for. Right now I'm just going to wait a little bit and see who's going where and probably look for something on the dirt. We'd like to give him a chance in one of these things some place to see where he fits now. The problem is I don't want to ruin him for one race."

The "one race" Matz was referring to is the Kentucky Derby, a race he won four years ago with Barbaro.

"There are a lot of horses in these races with a lot more experience than he has and I don't want to get beat because of a lack of experience," said Matz. "If he gets beat on ability, that's a different story. There are plenty of options out there. We could even try the Blue Grass and then something down the line like the Belmont. At the moment, I just don't know."

Trainer Todd Pletcher is also exploring numerous options for Interactif, who was beaten less than a length in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf following a victory on turf in Keeneland's Grade 3 Bourbon Stakes at 2. Interactif was upset by Bim Bam following a stretch-long battle in the Hallandale Beach here on Feb. 7.

"His next start will be either on dirt or synthetics, not turf, possibly in California or at Turfway," said Pletcher.

Pletcher also updated some of his plans for several of his other Kentucky Derby prospects, including Eskendereya, who moved to the top of his class with his easy victory here in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

"We'll run Eskendereya and/or Rule in the Florida Derby," said Pletcher. "Both horses will work Sunday at Palm Meadows, after which we'll make a decision. At the moment we're leaning towards the Tampa Bay Derby for Super Saver."

A field of nine 3-year-olds, led by Bim Bam, will contest the 1 1/8-mile Palm Beach on Saturday. Paddy O'Prado, Dean's Kitten, Our Champion, Asphalt, Lethal Combination, Center Divider, Mutiny, and Cat Park are also entered.

The Palm Beach shares top billing here Saturday with the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride, which drew a field of 10 3-year-old fillies.