Updated on 09/16/2011 8:07AM

Next week's top runners not chopped liver


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Most of the big names have left town, but the good racing is far from over here this meet. Three $75,000 stakes will be run in the week ahead, each bringing together top-caliber horses and the potential for some intriguing matchups.

On Friday, Best of the Rest will try to get back on the winning track as the 119 pound highweight in the 1 1/16-mile Unbridled Handicap. Best of the Rest finished fifth in the

Grade 1 Donn Handicap and sixth in the Grade 3 Creme Fraiche Handicap earlier in the meet. Dancing Guy, who was also off the board in the Creme Fraiche, figures to be lead the competition.

Saturday's five-furlong Yankee Affair Stakes on the grass features a rematch between Kipperscope and Texas Glitter. The latter came out on top in the pair's previous meeting, rallying from off the pace to win the Calder Turf Sprint Handicap in July.

The well-traveled Texas Glitter has not started since finishing second in Hollywood Park's Dayjur Handicap on Dec. 17 but is training smartly for his return including a five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds Sunday.

Kipperscope is in the best form of his career, and has been unbeatable on grass since finishing a tiring third behind Texas Glitter in the Calder Turf Sprint He has won four straight turf sprints since his previous encounter with Texas Glitter.

Next Sunday's feature is the Marshua's River Stakes, the filly version of the Yankee Affair. Among the starters could be California invader Fair Apache. Trainer Chris Paasch has indicated he may ship his speedy filly cross country for the race. Among the talented locals nominated to the race are Thunder Sands, Twilight Mirage, Flying Birdie, and three horses from trainer Christophe Clement, including Monnavanna and Mujado.

Royal Lad wins and earns a break

It may not have been pretty but Royal Lad's victory over 98-1 Danielle's Magic in Thursday's $46,000 allowance feature kept his name on top in the local 3-year-old sprint division.

Sent off at 1-2, Royal Lad was used hard, contesting the pace before withstanding a stretch-long drive to beat Danielle's Magic, who may have been the best, but failed to change leads and lugged in through the stretch.

"A win is a win. I'll take them any way I can," said trainer Ralph Ziadie. "I thought he ran well considering he was in between horses and fighting for the lead the whole way. And he was coming back a little quick off his last race."

Royal Lad was returning only 17 days after his impressive victory over the highly regarded Warners in the OBS Sprint Championship at Ocala. A son of Montbrook, Royal Lad has won four of his last six starts, and his only loss dates back to Nov. 10 coming against graded stakes company.

"He'll get a little break now and come back in a $35,000 stakes at Calder on May 6," said Ziadie.

The biggest disappointment in Thursday's feature race was the stakes-winning Juggernaut, who never menaced the leaders while finishing fourth in his 3-year-old debut.

Skiffington explains his absence

Trainer Tom Skiffington has been conspicuous by his absence here this winter, saddling only his sixth horse of the meet when sending out Ambitious in Thursday's eighth race.

"I decided to take a few horses to California last winter to take advantage of the big purses and short fields, and I really didn't get down here until January - and then just wanted to give some of the horses a rest," said Skiffington.

Skiffington was on an emotional roller coaster ride in California, having success with The Parting Glass but being devastated by the death of his Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf runner-up, Spook Express, who broke down in Hollywood Park's Matriarch Handicap.

"I'll never get over what happened to Spook Express," said Skiffington. "That's something that scars you for life. She deserved such a better ending than all that. I will feel guilty for the rest of my life for running her that day. It's amazing the glorious highs these horses can bring you and also the unbelievable lows."