01/30/2009 1:00AM

Stamina test for Kip Deville


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Kip Deville has already proven himself to be a world-class miler. On Sunday, the 2007 Breeders' Cup Mile winner will try to add a new dimension to his game when he stretches out to 1 1/8 miles for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

The Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf had been carded at 1 3/8 miles since 1991 until being shortened this season, although it was run at 1 1/4 miles when switched to the main track in 1994.

Kip Deville has not started since closing out his 2008 campaign finishing ninth in the Hong Kong Mile. Prior to that, he won 2 of 4 starts on the year, including the Maker's Mark Mile, and finished second behind Goldikova in defense of his Breeders' Cup Mile title. He has career earnings in excess of $3 million.

Kip Deville has made just one start at 1 1/8 miles, in 2007, when he finished a tiring eighth in the Grade 2 Californian, which was run not on grass but over the artificial surface at Hollywood Park.

"We ran him a mile and three-sixteenths once in the Colonial Turf Cup and he wound up opening a silly 20-length lead and got caught," trainer Rick Dutrow recalled. "But he's been settling in so much better in his races and I think he's going to show a new dimension now. I can't say for certain he'll get a mile and one-eighth, but we got nothing to lose by trying."

What Dutrow and Kip Deville's owners, which includes the IEAH Stables, have to gain is a possible trip to Dubai for the 1 1/8-mile Duty Free in late March.

"If he shows up the right way on Sunday we'd be extremely interested in going to Dubai," said Dutrow. "Why not? It's a $5 million race. He's doing wonderful. If Kip runs his race he'll be awfully tough to beat, and he's given me every indication that he's going to run his race."

Cornelio Velasquez, who worked Kip Deville twice between races at Gulfstream Park over the last two weeks, will again have the mount. Kip Deville will put blinkers back on for the Gulfstream Turf after racing without the equipment in Hong Kong.

Kip Deville will carry high weight of 124 pounds on Sunday, conceding two pounds to Breeders' Cup winner Red Rocks and three to Grade 1 winner Court Vision. The remainder of the field includes Just as Well, Kiss the Kid, Pick Six, Uigur, Nergal, and Summer Patriot. Phil the Power has been entered for dirt only.

Red Rocks won the 2006 Breeders' Cup Turf and made big news when he returned to the U.S. last summer and upset Curlin in the Grade 1 Man o' War at Belmont. He was then sidelined for the remainder of the summer by a hock infection before returning to finish 10th in the BC Turf.

"After the hock infection cleared up we made a grueling attempt to get him to the Breeders' Cup," said Mark Hennig. who trains Red Rocks for owner J. Paul Reddam. "He's done well since, and while a mile and one-eighth might not be his optimum distance, he has run well at a mile and one-quarter on several occasions and this is obviously a more realistic starting point than the Breeders' Cup."

Court Vision closed out his 3-year-old campaign in high style, winning the Grade 2 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont and beating Cowboy Cal in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. Court Vision, trained by Bill Mott, is also owned by IEAH in partnership with WinStar Farm, although he will run as a separate betting interest from Kip Deville.

The Gulfstream Park Turf will be Court Vision's first start over the local course and first against older horses.

Kiss the Kid won the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger in his final start in 2008 and the Ft. Lauderdale to open 2009. Both those races were decided at 1 1/16 miles. Kiss the Kid finished third in both the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap over the main track here last winter.