01/14/2011 1:15PM

Swift Warrior retrains sights on Dania Beach


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Steve Dwoskin had no intention of running his stakes-placed Swift Warrior in Sunday’s $100,000 Dania Beach at Gulfstream Park. But after getting a call from the racing office and learning who the competition would be, Dwoskin changed his plans.

Swift Warrior is one of 10 3-year-olds entered for the Dania Beach, carded at a mile on the turf. A son of First Samurai, Swift Warrior owns the highest Beyer Speed Figure in the field, an 86 earned for his easy 6 3/4-length entry-level allowance victory at Calder on Dec. 10. That performance earned Swift Warrior a ticket to the Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Day, when he finished third behind King Congie after being shuffled back briefly between horses into the far turn.

“I really don’t like running back in two weeks – it’s a little too close – but the race came up relatively easy for the money,” said Dwoskin. “Fortunately he came out of the race well and I expect him to run good.”

Swift Warrior is one of two Calder-based 3-year-olds in the Dania Beach coming out of the Tropical Park Derby along with Racing Aptitude, who finished a tiring fifth after tracking the early pace. Swift Warrior is also one of only two members of the field to have broken the 80 barrier on the Beyer scale, the other being Lil Bit O’Fun, who has captured two of his three starts for trainer Tom Proctor.

Lil Bit O’Fun began his career last summer at Arlington Park, rallying to win a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race on the grass by nearly four lengths. He suffered his lone defeat seven weeks later at Keeneland at the hands of stablemate Banned in an entry-level allowance race before rebounding to beat similar company while posting an 82 Beyer in his 2-year-old finale at Churchill Downs.

Terminal One enters the Dania unbeaten in two starts. A former $25,000 claimer, Terminal One turned in a game effort when stepping up against allowance company at Tampa on Dec. 30, setting a contested pace en route to a half-length victory.

Megalith is the biggest question mark in the field. A son of Trippi, Megalith won two of five starts at 2 while closing out the season finishing fourth behind a strong field in Tampa’s Inaugural Stakes. Megalith has never raced on grass but is a half-brother to three turf winners.