03/23/2005 12:00AM

Run to first turn extended


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Beginning Friday, horses will have an extra 30-foot run to the clubhouse turn in all races carded at 1 1/8 miles at Gulfstream Park. The adjustment will come in the distance between the starting gate and the initial timing beam, which had been set at 40 feet over the first 62 days of the meeting. The change increases the run from the gate to the first turn from 370 feet to 400 feet.

Through Monday, horses at the meet breaking from posts 1 and 2 had won 26 of the 56 races held at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, or 46 percent of the races at the distance.

The additional runup, which will give horses more momentum before breaking the beam that officially starts the teletimer in each race, figures to speed up official times recorded for 1 1/8-mile races here.

"The 400-foot run into the first turn is virtually identical to other nine-furlong ovals like Aqueduct and Arlington Park," said Gulfstream president and general manager Scott Savin. "We're always looking for ways to enhance our product and provide the best possible racing conditions."

Many trainers had expressed concern over the short run to the first turn in 1 1/8-mile races during the meet, including several with prospective starters in the $1 million Florida Derby, which will be decided at 1 1/8 miles April 2. Rick Violette scratched Dearest Mon from the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes rather than have his horse start at what he felt was a disadvantage from post 8. Many observers believe breaking from post 8 led to the odds-on favorite High Fly suffering his only career defeat in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes.

Wolfson likely to run only 'Princess'

Trainer Marty Wolfson said he would like to run both Pampered Princess and Adobe Gold in Saturday's $250,000 Rampart Handicap, but barring a last-minute change of plans, only Pampered Princess will start in the Grade 2 fixture for fillies and mares.

"I could run them both, but the problem is the owners don't want to run against each other, so as of now I'm probably going to start Pampered Princess and wait until we get back to Calder with Adobe Gold," Wolfson said Wednesday.

Pampered Princess and Adobe Gold have already gone head to head twice during the current session. Pampered Princess defeated Adobe Gold by a head to win the Banshee Breeze Handicap on Jan. 23 and finished a length before Adobe Gold when they ran second and third behind Isolu Piu Bella in the Grade 3 Sabin Handicap on Feb. 26.

"I couldn't be prouder of Pampered Princess, the way she's come along and performed here this winter," said Wolfson. "She had a bit of an electrolyte imbalance last summer at Calder, and that's why every so often she would throw in a race when she would stop. But she's gotten so much better since we corrected the problem."

Pampered Princess won 4 of 11 starts last season and earned $138,000. Overall, she has won nine races and finished third or better in 19 of her 25 career starts.

Wolfson scratched Adobe Gold from Saturday's Hillsborough Stakes on turf at Tampa as well as the Florida Breeders' Distaff Handicap on Monday in Ocala.

"I put her in the race at Tampa in case it came off the grass, and I decided it just didn't pay to run her in the Ocala race for only a $40,000 purse when there still is an outside possibility she could go in a Grade 2 race this weekend if something changes," said Wolfson. "In all likelihood I'll just wait for the Hollywood Wildcat April 30 at Calder."

Wolfson also reported that his father, Louis Wolfson, would be returning home Wednesday after spending the last 90 days in the hospital. A Hall of Fame owner-breeder, Louis Wolfson and his wife, Patrice, campaigned Triple Crown winner Affirmed.

"He went into the hospital on Dec. 31, and I'm delighted he's finally able to come home today," said Marty Wolfson. "He's been sick with various ailments, and it was pretty serious for a while, but he's doing a lot better now."

* Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Ghostzapper worked five furlongs in 59.60 seconds at Palm Meadows on Wednesday and remains on target for his 2005 debut in the Grade 1 Oaklawn Park Handicap on April 9.