04/14/2006 12:00AM

Stakes talent in allowance


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A couple of graded stakes-placed 3-year-olds, Honor Due and Confront, will run in separate divisions of a split entry-level allowance race on Gulfstream Park's nine-race Easter Sunday program.

Honor Due was sidelined nearly eight months after concluding an abbreviated 2-year-old campaign by finishing third in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes on July 10 at Churchill Downs. He then had the misfortune of catching the strongest first-level allowance field of the meet when returning to action here on March 4, finishing far behind the track record-setting performance of Exclusive Quality after steadying at the break.

has gotten three more works under his belt since his 3-year-old debut but will have to improve to handle the likes of Tactoro, Ghosttrapper, and Two Deals Pending in the first division of Sunday's $33,000 co-feature.

Confront has not started since finishing a tiring third in Monmouth Park's Grade 3 Sapling Stakes on Aug. 20. He was second in the Tyro Stakes over the same track four weeks earlier.

is one of several talented 3-year-olds returning from layoffs in the second division, along with Thanks Dubya, D. J. Best, Disco's Son, and Nonchalant. Mr. Retsof, an impressive maiden winner in his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 15, and Triplethepleasure may hold a slight advantage over that group because both have already started during the meet.

Take D' Tour wins another

In her previous start, Take D' Tour caught a field that included Grade 1 winner Balletto, but she led throughout to post an easy four-length allowance victory. When she returned on Friday in a high-priced optional claimer, Take D' Tour ($6.40) found herself up against Grade 2 winner R Lady Joy but again was not deterred, overcoming a slow start to post another impressive win for owner Alice Muller, trainer David Fawkes, and jockey Manny Aguilar.

R Lady Joy was a major disappointment making her first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks on Sept. 30. She upset Round Pond winning the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks last summer but beat only one of four rivals as the 1-2 favorite on Friday.