03/21/2008 12:00AM

Race shape favors Gold Trippi


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Anybody with even a basic knowledge of handicapping should be able to figure that Sunday's $48,000 allowance feature at Gulfstream Park sets up for a closer. And nobody in the field of nine older horses fits that bill any better than Gold Trippi.

Gold Trippi has already proven he can run down horses at the end of races. His problems have come at the beginning of many of his 11 starts, when poor breaks compromised his best chances of winning. It happened in his last start, on Feb. 1, when Gold Trippi broke four lengths behind the leaders and then had no chance in a seven-furlong dash that was won by Bold Start in a blistering 1:21.39.

A month earlier, Gold Trippi broke with the rest of the field, then caught the pace-setting Gstaad to win a second-level allowance race by a neck. The victory was the second in a row for Gold Trippi, who closed out his 3-year-old campaign by rallying from the rear of the pack to a 1 1/4-length win a one-mile race at Aqueduct.

There is no shortage of speed in Sunday's field, with Fortunate Trail, Holy Canyon, Fleet Valid, and Disco's Son all at their best when on or near the lead.

Fleet Valid is the most intriguing member of that group. He is returning to the scene of one of his most impressive performances, a wire-to-wire 3 3/4-length victory last winter in a third-level optional claiming and allowance race similar to Sunday's. Fleet Valid was claimed for $50,000 out of his 2007 finale at Aqueduct on Dec. 30. He finished a game second after being bumped leaving the gate and setting a pressured pace.

Disco's Son ran far and away the best race of his career at Gulfstream Park last winter, registering a wire-to-wire 5 1/4-length allowance win. His time of 1:08.60 for the six furlongs came within .14 seconds of the track record and earned him a 107 Beyer Speed Figure. Disco's Son will make his first start Sunday since Aug. 29.

Yes Master returns for the same $62,500 claiming price he was haltered for on Feb. 17 - though he is rising in company from second- to third-level optional claiming competition. The 6-year-old has been a model of consistency, finishing first or second in 6 of his last 7 starts.