02/11/2002 1:00AM

Pleasant County goes dirt only


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A strong storm Saturday night took racing off the turf at Gulfstream Park both Sunday and Monday, and trainer Mark Hennig hopes that trend continues one more day.

Hennig has entered the rapidly improving Pleasant County in Wednesday's featured eighth race, a second-level allowance race that is scheduled to be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Pleasant County, who has won two straight on dirt, is entered for main track only, however, meaning, as Hennig said Monday, "I'm not going to run if it's on the turf."

There is no racing at Gulfstream on Tuesday, so the grass will get another day to dry out. But the wet weather left the main track rated as good on both Sunday and Monday.

The main track was closed for workouts on Sunday, and the inside of the track was protected by orange traffic cones on Monday.

Pleasant County was second in her debut in October at Belmont Park, was a 10 1/2-length winner against maidens at Aqueduct in November, then came here and romped against a first-level allowance field, winning by 4 1/4 lengths on Jan. 7 in her first start around two turns.

A 4-year-old daughter of Pleasant Tap, Pleasant County was bred and is owned by Edward Evans.

Pleasant County is scheduled to be treated with Lasix in a race for the first time.

If the race remains on the turf, the top two choices figure to be Refugee and No Deadline, both of whom turned in excellent efforts on this course last month.

Refugee, from Bill Mott's barn, battled back after being passed at midstretch to beat a first-level allowance field on Jan. 18, her first start in more than four months.

The victory was her second in four starts since being moved to the turf after a pair of disappointing runs on dirt.

No Deadline, trained by Chuck Simon, was a sharp second at this level on Jan. 21. She opened a large lead midway through the race, was collared at the top of the lane, but continued courageously and lost by just a half-length, while finishing more than five lengths clear of the third horse.

No Deadline will be shortening up from 1 1/8 miles, which should be to her benefit.

The filly who defeated No Deadline last time, Peanut Gallery, came back and won at Gulfstream over the weekend, validating the strength of No Deadline's performance.

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