04/09/2007 11:00PM

Meet-end money run for Barcola


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - With less than two weeks left in the Gulfstream Park meet, the majority of New York-based horses and horsemen have already returned home. But those who have stayed to the bitter end will likely find opportunities to pick up extra shipping money in races such as Thursday's $48,000 second-level allowance feature, which brings together the New York-bound trio of Valid Notebook, Santa's Gold and Barcola.

Barcola is the pick to win for trainer Mark Hennig and owner J. Paul Reddam. A 4-year-old son of Old Trieste, Barcola has shown flashes of brilliance during his career, with his two victories coming by 10 1/2 and 16 1/2 lengths.

Barcola earned a whopping 108 Beyer Speed Figure in his most recent triumph, which came going 1 1/8 miles over the inner track at Aqueduct in his 3-year-old finale. He has yet to reproduce that type of performance in three local outings, which include a seventh-place finish behind Horse of the Year Invasor in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

Hennig will turn Barcola back to a mile for the first time since his second-place finish under second-level allowance conditions Nov. 11 at Aqueduct. The outside post should allow jockey Rene Douglas the opportunity to put Barcola, the likely favorite, in perfect striking position just off the expected pace of longshot Runnin to the Bar.

Valid Notebook takes a significant drop in class to a level he won at rather impressively last summer in New York, when he earned a 101 Beyer Figure for a gate-to-wire three-length victory. Valid Notebook has registered a pair of thirds and a fourth in three outings here this meet, and trainer Patrick Reynolds will remove the blinkers hoping to get Valid Notebook back on the winning track.

The form of Valid Notebook and Barcola has seemed to tail off during the course of the meet, but Santa's Gold has moved forward with each start since leaving his New York base last fall. Two of those races came on grass before trainer Stanley Hough switched Santa's Gold back to a one-turn mile on the main track Feb. 25. He won the first-level allowance by a half-length.

Tour of the Cat stretches out to a mile for the first time since a second-place finish last November in a Delaware Park optional claimer.