04/14/2003 11:00PM

Peekskill's day has arrived


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - One year after being on the Kentucky Derby trail, Peekskill finds himself still struggling to win a second-level allowance race. It's a hurdle he should finally overcome in Thursday's 1 1/16-mile, $38,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park.

Peekskill fell off the Derby trail following a fifth-place finish behind War Emblem in the Illinois Derby. But he remained a factor in graded stakes races through the summer, finishing third in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby and fourth in the Grade 2 Ohio Derby before staggering home nearly 25 lengths behind Medaglio d'Oro in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at Saratoga.

Peekskill has since made four attempts to win his second-level allowance condition. He finished second twice in Kentucky last fall and a troubled fifth against a strong field here earlier this winter. His fourth attempt, going 1 1/2 miles on the turf, is probably worth ignoring all together. He faces what appears to be his easiest assignment yet in Thursday's feature.

Rocker is another former stakes runner trying to recapture his old form. Rocker won a stakes in just his third career start, the Primal at Calder last May. Like Peekskill, he too has struggled against second-level allowance competition, although he did have an excuse when he bobbled leaving the gate in his first start in more than seven months in a seven-furlong race here on March 16.

Dr. Gold has won two of his last three starts, both under $40,000 claiming tags, but has had trouble gainst this caliber of allowance competition.

Trainer Mark Shuman has entered a pair, the much improved Fiery Sweep and stretch-out sprinter Last Intention, and he will likely have the horse to catch no matter which half of the entry he chooses to start.

Fabulous Peak, Maumee, and Head Chief round out the starting lineup.

Best of the Rest tops Skip Away

Best of the Rest has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds for Sunday's Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap, the final graded stakes of the current meet, which ends April 24.

The Judge Sez Who, Best of the Rest's main rival for supremacy on the south Florida circuit last summer, is next in line at 119 pounds. Bowman's Band was assigned 116 pounds but will not start.

Among the other possible contenders in the 1 1/16-mile Skip Away are Dancing Guy (114), Keats (114), Beware Avalanche (113), Changeintheweather (113), Consistency (113), and Nobodys Listening (112).

Ziadie sends son on the road

Trust N Luck will be at Keeneland on Saturday to run in the Lexington Stakes, but his trainer, Ralph Ziadie, plans to stay home to send out Formal Charade here that same afternoon in the $75,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes.

"I sent my son, Kirk, to Kentucky with Trust N Luck on Tuesday," said Ziadie. "The horse is ready to go and there's not much more I can do for the horse now. Besides we both can't be there because one of us has to be here to saddle Formal Charade."

Formal Charade is hoping to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Sophomore Stakes for colts and geldings on April 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.

"He got bogged down along the rail during the early part of the race and never had a chance to do any real running until too late," Ziadie explained.

Formal Charade won a first-level allowance race by five lengths in his 2-year-old finale, then launched his 3-year-old campaign by finishing sixth in the Grade 3 Spectacular Bid Stakes.

Massive and Valid Video, third and sixth, respectively, behind Dynever in the Aventura Stakes, are among the 11 nominees to the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid.

Cruz, Monterrey suspended

Jockeys Manuel Cruz and apprentice Richard Monterrey will both be out of action after receiving seven-day suspensions from the stewards for careless riding.

Cruz was set down for his ride aboard Mr. Livingston, who was disqualified from second to third in the seventh race on April 10.

Monterrey rode Southern Voice, who was disqualified and placed third after crossing the finish line first in the opening race here last Saturday.