04/02/2009 11:00PM

Storm Tease low on turf experience


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Five-furlong turf races might not be the favorite betting fare of some horseplayers, but they sure have proven to be a popular item among local trainers, who seemingly have no shortage of grass sprinters in their barns.

Sunday's 10-race Palm Sunday program at Gulfstream Park will feature two more turf sprints, including the afternoon's main event, which is carded under first-level allowance conditions for fillies and mares. A field of eight was drawn for the race, including the main-track-only Little Miss Julien and an uncoupled pair from the barn of trainer Tim Hills.

Storm Tease may be the slight favorite despite having made just one start on grass. That race was a good one, as the daughter of Stormy Atlantic set a sharp pace before fading to finish third against a strong field of open $50,000 claiming rivals that included Excessive Heat, a two-time turf stakes winner earlier in her career.

Trainer Jose Pinchin tried to get Storm Tease back on the grass in her next start, but rain washed the race onto a sloppy main track over which she finished a distant second to the speedy Yogi'ssplashofgold.

Hills will counter Storm Tease with It's Not for Love and the lightly raced Very Superstitious.

It's Not for Love will be making her first start since Oct. 30 at Aqueduct while turning back to a distance she has yet to try on the turf. It's Not for Love has turned in some sparkling works over the main track in preparation for her return, including a bullet half-mile in 47.60 seconds on March 31.

Very Superstitious has started just twice and never on grass. The daughter of Robyn Dancer was a game winner when launching her career at Calder on Dec. 14, but could not duplicate the effort against allowance opposition in her only local try.

Todd Pletcher, involved in a heated battle with Ken McPeek in defense of his training title, will send out recent maiden winner Brooke's Valentine in quest of her second straight victory. Brooke's Valentine figures to be part of the early pace along with Storm Tease and longshot Girl Glitter.

A fast pace could play into the hands of the late-running Smartgabrielle, who closed to be second against open $35,000 claiming company in her local debut. The 6-year-old daughter of Smart Strike stretched out and finished a good fourth after contesting the early pace going a mile in her most recent appearance.