03/12/2010 12:00AM

Mannington right back going for cut of $75K

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Terri Pompay isn't crazy about running Mannington back on just 11 days' rest in Sunday's Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park. But then again how many opportunities will there be for a mid-level claiming and allowance horse to compete for a $75,000 purse against statebred opposition?

"I had originally nominated him for this stakes, but then elected to go in the optional claiming race earlier this month because it was a softer spot, and he won easily," said Pompay, who trains Mannington for Wanda Polisseni's My Purple Haze Stable.

"I'm not worried about the horses in this field. My only concern is that I've never run him this close before, but he's doing terrific, so I thought I might as well give it a shot."

Mannington has won 2 of his 3 starts at the meet, finishing second behind the odds-on Elusive Warning in his lone setback this winter. Overall, Mannington has posted 4 wins and 4 seconds from 10 local starts.

"I claimed him as a 2-year-old turning 3 for $32,000," said Pompay. "He's really a neat horse. No matter where you take him he gives 100 percent all the time, although for some reason he really ballooned down here this winter."

Mannington is one of 23 horses Pompay has stabled locally, eight of them for Polisseni. Pompay, who won two races on Thursday and had seven victories this meet through Friday, will be returning to her usual summer home at Monmouth Park, which will be anything but usual this year with the recent announcement that purses will average $1 million per day.

"It's going to be a little scary in Jersey this summer," said Pompay. "The money sounds terrific. Now we have to see if we can get some of that money. Fortunately I'm having a great meet here, and hopefully we'll come out of Florida with the right combination of horses to go back up there. Obviously it's going to be different. I'm applying for 36 stalls and I can fill them all, but who knows how they're going to be allotted this summer. I've been racing at Monmouth for a long time, and I'd just hate to leave people behind or to to have to split my stable if I don't get what I need."

Mannington will face seven other Florida-breds in the seven-furlong Sunshine State, including Unbridled Heat and Famous Patriot.

Unbridled Heat has won both his starts since finishing second behind Mannington for a $40,000 claiming price on opening day. Famous Patriot comes off a much-needed outing when he ran third behind Bold Start while making his first start in nearly five months. Trained by Tim Hills, Famous Patriot was stakes-placed on three occasions last season, including in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope in his 2009 debut.

The remainder of the Sunshine State field comprises Dream Maestro, Good General, Green Vegas, Tommy's Memory, and Big Push.

Solid supporting card

Sunday's card is a good one and also includes a one-mile allowance race for 3-year-olds that features trainer Chad Brown's undefeated prospect Tiz the One and Nick Zito's well-regarded Thomas Got Even. Also on the card, a seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies matches recent maiden breakers Superior Selection and Electric Gold. The 10-race program concludes with the all-turf pick four.