09/25/2008 12:00AM

Look for mud-lovers in Gallant Bob


Four horses who most recently raced in Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes at Saratoga, plus another who recorded back-to-back 100 Beyer Speed Figures at the Spa meet, head a good group of 3-year-old sprinters in Saturday's $250,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

The outcome of the six-furlong race, however, may hinge more on the ability to handle a sloppy track than class or speed figures.

With steady rain forecast for both Friday and Saturday, a wet track is likely. It could also mean that the co-featured $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap for fillies and mares will get washed off the grass.

Identifying a superior mudder in the Gallant Bob field is something of a guessing game, since the field is a collective 1 for 9 over wet surfaces.

Both of the probable favorites, however, Golden Spikes and Desert Key, display exceptional Tomlinson ratings for wet tracks.

The Calder-based Golden Spikes was a non-threatening fourth of six the only time he raced in the slop, which came in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park. He's a much better horse now than he was back in January.

After running the two fastest races of his career in back-to-back stakes victories at his home track, capped by a victory in the Grade 2 Carry Back, Golden Spikes got used up in a speed duel and finished last of 10 in the Grade 1 King's Bishop.

Desert Key rallied from sixth to win a three-horse photo for second in the King's Bishop after just missing in the Grade 2 Amsterdam. He has never raced on a wet track, but owns the field's best Tomlinson rating for off tracks, a 454.

Lantana Mob merits respect after finishing just 1 1/4 lengths behind Golden Spikes in the Carry Back and winding up two noses behind Desert Key in the King's Bishop. His Maryland-based trainer, Mike Trombetta, is 6 for 12 shipping sprinters into Philly Park off a 31-to-60-day layoff, according to DRF's Formulator.

Devereux, who has not raced since finishing third July 28 in the Amsterdam at Saratoga, comes from the high-percentage barn of Steve Asmussen. For all his success elsewhere, however, Asmussen is 0 for 7 the last five years at Philly Park, all in stakes.

Rollers won back-to-back races restricted to New York-breds at Saratoga with a pair of 100 Beyers. He is untested over wet tracks and his trainer, Barclay Tagg, is just 2 for his last 22 shipping into Philly Park.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, 3 for 10 this year locally, brings in Fujita from Monmouth Park, where he overcame a slow start to finish second in a minor stakes seven weeks ago. Pletcher is a phenomenal 7 for 12 with the layoff horses he has brought to Philly Park.

Turf Amazon: Dutrow ready either way

Trainer Tony Dutrow seems well-prepared for whatever conditions are present for the five-furlong Turf Amazon.

If the race remains on grass, Dutrow has Smart and Fancy, a 5-year-old mare who is 5 for 6 in turf sprints and has won three in a row since June.

If the race is shifted to the main track, he has Peisinoe, a 3-year-old filly who has won two in a row, including a three-length score over a wet-fast track at Delaware Park.

The Steve Klesaris-trained 3-year-old Casanova Killer would also be a threat if the track comes up muddy or sloppy. He romped by 10 in an off-the-turf allowance sprint locally three weeks ago.