05/20/2009 11:00PM

Livingston Street still unproven on dirt


MIAMI - If Saturday's $55,000 Ride the Rails Stakes at Calder were carded on the turf, Livingston Street would likely be a solid favorite to win the mile and 70-yard overnight event for 3-year-olds. Unfortunately for trainer Bill Kaplan and owners Teresa and James Remez, the Ride the Rails will be run over the main track, making Livingston Street the biggest question mark in the field.

Livingston Street, a son of the versatile stakes winner Mr. Livingston, is the only three-time winner among the seven 3-year-olds entered in the Ride the Rails. He comes off back-to-back wins over the local turf course, including an entry-level allowance triumph on May 10.

All three of Livingston Street's wins have come on grass. He finished off the board in his only two previous tries on dirt.

"He was a little problem behavioral-wise early in his career," explained Kaplan, who also trained Mr. Livingston. "He was extremely fractious in the gate. He was rearing and not getting off well. But we put a lot of work with him at the gate in the morning, the gate crew did a great job with him, and he's a lot more manageable now. His gate troubles are a thing of the past and that's why he's so much more improved. He doesn't lose the race when the gate opens any more."

Despite his lack of success on dirt, Kaplan said he believes Livingston Street should handle the surface without any problem on Saturday.

"His first two starts on dirt were sprinting and we knew all along he needed to go long, and this looks like a good time to try him on dirt again," said Kaplan. "He trains on it great and I see no reason why he wouldn't run well on it too."

If Livingston Street does not duplicate his turf form over the main track, the Ride the Rails looms wide open with Powerchord and Ameriheart perhaps the two most logical options.

Powerchord is one of two horses trainer Gregory Griffith entered. Classic Tiger will run as an uncoupled stablemate. Powerchord is coming off a three-quarter-length first-level allowance win in his local debut going a mile on May 2.

Ameriheart exits the best race of his career, a second-place finish behind Colonial Causeway against older horses under entry-level allowance conditions here two weeks ago.