Updated on 09/16/2011 6:47AM

Many ways to like De Bertie

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
De Bertie faces tough competition in Friday's $100,000 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The competition De Bertie faces in Friday's $100,000 Sabin Handicap at Gulfstream Park is significantly tougher than the field she beat last year in this race. Still, there are several reasons to believe De Bertie could be a repeat winner in the Grade 3 race for older fillies and mares.

First, De Bertie loves Gulfstream, winning three stakes here including last month's Escena Stakes. Second, she has a recent race, whereas Grade 1 winners Miss Linda and Forest Secrets are returning from 2 1/2-month layoffs. Third, she has Jerry Bailey on her back. Fourth, there is plenty of speed in this bulky 12-horse field.

"It's a race you don't expect to win, but you if you do win, great, but it's a tough race," trainer Steve Flint said. "I think we got a big advantage over them because we have a race over the track."

On De Bertie's prowess at Gulfstream Park, Flint said, "She's like Martina Hingis when she walks into Wimbledon. This is her castle."

As a closer, De Bertie, carrying 115 pounds, should benefit from an expected solid pace. Miss Linda, who won the Spinster on the front end last October, makes her first start since finishing fourth in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill last November.

The 119-pound highweight, Miss Linda figures to have company from the likes of Extend, who beat De Bertie in the Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder, and Tap Dance, who is 3 for 3 at Gulfstream including a front-running win in the 2001 Bonnie Miss Stakes.

Sitting just off the speed figures to be likely favorite Forest Secrets, winner of last year's Grade 1 Acorn Stakes and Grade 3 Falls City Handicap. Though she hasn't been out since Nov. 22, Forest Secrets remained in training and has been breezing well at the Palm Beach Downs training center. Pat Day will ride Forest Secrets (117 pounds) for the first time.

Potential upsetters include Sound of the West, Sara's Success, and Happily Unbridled. Sound of the West takes a significant class hike, but was impressive winning a second-level allowance race by 11 1/2 lengths here on Jan. 10 and gets in with 110 pounds.

Sara's Success finished a solid second behind De Bertie in the Escena after breaking from post 12. Happily Unbridled was sixth in the Escena, but encountered trouble in the first turn.

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