06/02/2005 11:00PM

Procreate back off world-record effort


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Eddie King knew he was going fast aboard Procreate in the Yankee Affair Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

He had no idea, though, that a world record was unfolding.

"I didn't know he was going that fast," King said. "I knew he accelerated when I asked him. I'm still a little surprised. It was phenomenal."

Procreate, a 7-year-old gelding, ran the five furlongs on the turf in 53.79 seconds.

"I certainly wasn't expecting a world record," said trainer John Zimmerman.

Neither were the bettors, who sent Procreate away at 16-1. The price will be shorter Sunday, when Procreate makes his first start since the record performance in the $55,000 Wolf Hill Stakes at Monmouth Park. He earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 110 in the Yankee Affair, which ranks among the top grass figures posted anywhere this year.

King has the return call on Procreate, who makes his Monmouth debut in the five-furlong turf dash. It will be an interesting test for Procreate to prove he is more than a Florida grass wonder.

Zimmerman, who got the horse last summer, said he knew Procreate had "serious early speed" and decided to try the horse on the Gulfstream course. The results were immediately impressive. Procreate won both of his starts over the course and has won three in a row overall.

Zimmerman said he had planned to run Procreate in the $100,000 Turf Monster Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Monday but was barred due to strangles restrictions.

Procreate, who had been stabled at Delaware Park, has been relocated to a training center in central Pennsylvania.

Another horse making his Monmouth turf debut in the Wolf Hill is Choose. The John Forbes barn thought Choose was a Haskell Invitational prospect last year, when he won his first two starts, but Choose developed a major flaw: distance limitations.

"We always thought he would be a two-turn horse," said assistant trainer Pat McBurney. "He does not seem to want to take a step past six furlongs."

Choose switched to turf sprints for his last two outings, both at Gulfstream. He bobbled at the start and finished fourth in the Yankee Affair as the even-money favorite.

Freedom's Honor, a solid grass runner in the Jamie Woodington barn, will try a turf sprint for the first time.

"He's a very fast horse. I don't know if he's that fast," Woodington said. "He's the kind of horse you have to keep entertained, mentally. He's a little too smart for his own good, so we're going to try something different."

Little Red Rocket will take another shot in a turf sprint, which he has never won. He has four thirds in eight tries sprinting on turf.

"He just ran into tough horses like Procreate all winter in Florida," said trainer Charlie Carey.

Fantast scores at nice price

Many bettors are kicking themselves for letting Fantast, a first-timer sent out by Todd Pletcher, get away at 6-1 Thursday in the first 2-year-old race of the season at Monmouth.

A daughter of Luhuk, Fantast rallied relentlessly to wear down the front-running Livermore Valley in 58.77 seconds for the five furlongs.

"She was always competitive and always in hand breezing," said assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta. "She wasn't that much of a surprise to many of us here, because she had shown us a little gas. A 2-year-old going off 6-1 coming out of Todd's barn was a little strange."