04/09/2006 11:00PM

Miss Shop may have class edge


Although many horses that raced in south Florida this winter have left for Kentucky or the Northeast, some quality runners remain, a fact on display Wednesday at Gulfstream Park.

Three of the nine races at Gulfstream on Wednesday are allowances or optional claiming races, and at least two such races showcase fillies with stakes-winning potential.

The richest race of the day, a $35,000 second-level allowance carded as race 3, includes a number of 3-year-old fillies with stakes experience, led by Miss Shop, Midris, and Categorize. Another race on the card, the eighth, is highlighted by How True It Is, a seven-length winner of her only start.

A mile race on turf, the third is the best race on the card, though only seven fillies were entered. The likely favorite is Miss Shop, a Deputy Minister filly who was third in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on March 19. She will be challenged by Midris, a stakes-winning British invader, and Categorize, a Rick Dutrow-trained horse who recently won a first-level allowance.

Miss Shop, a New York-based filly trained by Allen Jerkens, has made all three of her starts in Florida this winter in stakes. In addition to her third in the Herecomethebride, she ran eighth in the Grade 2 Forward Gal on dirt and fourth in the Gaily Gaily on turf.

Shannon Uske has the mount on Miss Shop, who is scheduled to receive the anti-bleeding medication Lasix for the first time.

To win Wednesday, Miss Shop may need to run a bit faster than she did in her most recent start. She earned a 79 Beyer Speed Figure in the Herecomesthebride. By comparison, Categorize, another New York-based filly, earned an 82 Beyer when she won an allowance March 11.

Speed figures cannot be used to compare British invader Midris with other members of the field - no Beyers are calculated for European races - but Midris did win a listed stakes race at Newmarket in her last race Oct. 28. In that race, as well as in two other starts, she dwelt at the start.

Contention does not appear to run as deep in race 8. How True It Is is expected to start as a prohibitive favorite after a fast debut win March 19, when she earned an 82 Beyer. She stretches out from six furlongs to a mile on the main track. Clinton Potts rides for trainer Joe Orseno.