02/16/2006 12:00AM

Major Success sitting on a win


NEW YORK - The most prestigious race on Saturday is Santa Anita's $150,000 San Carlos Handicap. There are, however, two $100,000 stakes at Gulfstream, the Sabin and the Hurricane Bertie Handicap. And there is the $125,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes, one of three stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

San Carlos Handicap

This race drew two horses in Surf Cat and Congrats who certainly have the class to win, and have the reputations to ensure they will take a good bit of action at the windows. But both are most accomplished going a distance of ground, not the seven furlongs afforded here, and both might be using this as a stepping stone to next month's Big Cap.

With that in mind, Major Success is a solid play. Compromised by knee problems earlier in his career, Major Success is as good as hands can make him now, having won all three of his starts since late November. The most recent of those was the six-furlong Palos Verdes Handicap, in which he could not have been more game, prevailing from between horses in a three-way stretch battle. The time was there - he earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure - and he gave the strong impression that he will be even more effective at this longer distance. In addition, Major Success trips out beautifully, as he figures to sit a sweet stalking run outside Brand Name in a race lacking any other real sprint speed.

Hurricane Bertie Handicap

The wild card here is Splendid Blended, a top filly who was retired but is being given a shot at a comeback. She is returning earlier than she might have just so that if her comeback doesn't work out, she can be retired again and still be bred this year. That does not exactly instill confidence in her Saturday.

Otherwise, Smokey Glacken is the mare to beat off an impressive victory in the First Lady Handicap earlier in the Gulfstream meet. But the First Lady was at six furlongs, by far Smokey Glacken's preferred distance, and this race is a bit longer. The field in this race is also stronger.

I'm going with For All We Know. For All We Know has not raced since a solid victory in the Raven Run Stakes last October, but a victory in a very hot maiden race in the first start of her career at Gulfstream last year indicates she can succeed off of workouts. Moreover, For All We Know has won all four of her starts around one turn. Her only losses came in the CCA Oaks and Alabama, both Grade 1 events at 1 1/4 miles. This is not that kind of race.

Endeavour Breeders' Cup Stakes

This is one of the Tampa Bay stakes, and Amorama will be the favorite. She deserves to be. She is a two-time Grade 1 stakes winner, and she will be making her first start for Bobby Frankel. But Amorama is not invincible. Both of her big wins came at Del Mar, and she has been beatable elsewhere. She also has not raced for 4 1/2 months.

Laurafina is the upset pick. While it is true Laurafina beat a weaker field and an unlucky runner-up when she won the Frances A. Genter last time out, it was only her seventh career start, so there is still plenty of upside potential to her. She has kept good company, too, as she was a creditable second last June in the Sands Point to Melhor Ainda, who was one of the best American-based turf females of any age last year. Most importantly, with a lot of speed drawn outside in this race, the pace should be hot. So Laurafina's closing style fits nicely.


Tampa Bay Downs: Endeavour B.C. Stakes
Fillies And Mares, 4 And Up, 1 1/16 Miles, Turf

Approximate post: Eastern-4:09 p.m., Central-3:09 p.m., Mountain-2:09 p.m., Pacific-1:09 p.m.; Tampa, Fl., forecast: Partly cloudy, 77¦

2My Lordship9792863-1
3Keeping Watch82837820-1
4Dansetta Light77428230-1
5Cozy Gain80298020-1
7Moon Dazzle85868610-1
8Classic Stamp85979215-1
9Ayla Bella83826112-1
10On the Bus9589838-1
12Champagne Ending92927710-1
Also eligible:

Odds by Jim Kachulis

Gulfstream Park: Hurricane Bertie Handicap
Fillies And Mares, 3 And Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs

Approximate post: E-5:22 p.m., Cl-4:22 p.m., M-3:22 p.m., P-2:22 p.m.; Hallandale Beach, Fl., forecast: Partly cloudy, 80¦

1So Much More88648520-1
2Beautiful Bets83829730-1
3Atlas Valley87101886-1
4La Chiflotan/an/an/a20-1
5Ebony Breeze8491815-1
6For All We Know9657809-2
8Splendid Blended9897922-1
10Pentelicus Dance79347620-1
11Smokey Glacken10095994-1

Coupled: Menifeeque and Kuanyan; odds by Art Gropper

Santa Anita: San Carlos Handicap
4 And Up, 7 Furlongs

Approximate post: E-7:00 p.m., C-6:00 p.m., M-5:00 p.m., P-4:00 p.m.; Arcadia, Ca., forecast: Chance of rain, 56¦

4Brand Name97927015-1
6Jet West1081051039-2
7Surf Cat1061041057-2
8Major Success109106945-2

Odds by Michael Hammersly