12/13/2012 2:52PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Alley Oop Oop drops off troubled trip in Tropical Turf


OLDSMAR Fla. – Alley Oop Oop, a close-up fifth in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap in his last outing, drops down in class on Saturday in a field of nine optional claiming turf runners slated to start in the 1 1/16-mile feature.

Trained by Stanley Gold, Alley Oop Oop made his last start in the nine-furlong Tropical Turf on the Calder grass. The 4-year-old Florida homebred was steadied in traffic while racing along in sixth in the nine-horse field, then swung wide into the stretch, but couldn’t gain late, winding up fifth, beaten just three lengths by winning Philly Ace.

Alley Oop Oop was tried on the turf for the first time in September in an allowance route over one mile on the grass at Calder and rallied from just off the pace for a game three-quarter-length win. Brought back on the grass at nine furlongs against statebreds in the $125,000 Bonnie Heath Handicap, Alley Oop Oop rallied through the stretch to be gaining on the leaders and wound up third, beaten a neck and a nose while being carried out late in the stretch.

Alley Oop Oop is coupled with Argentine Tango, another runner from the Jacks or Better Farm. He was a fast-closing fourth in a 7 1/2-furlong overnight stakes on the turf at Calder in his last outing back in August.

The Best Glacier was ninth and fifth against stakes company in two of his last three starts, but sandwiched between those two efforts was a solid late-closing second in a mile optional claiming route on the turf at Calder. Winner of three in a row with $16,000 claimers this fall at Calder, The Best Glacier should be laying just off the pace.

Colonel Bill tries to win his third race from his last four outings for the powerful Midwest Thoroughbred operation. In his last at Laurel, Colonel Bill lagged back in last in a field of 10 going a mile on the turf, then swung seven wide in the stretch and closed with a rush to finish third, beaten just a neck. Before that defeat Colonel Bill had posted wins at Saratoga and Laurel and has been no worse then third since being claimed for $30,000 at Churchill Downs in June. Colonel Bill is coupled with Master Dunker.

Hobo Ridge hails from the Leigh Delacour stable and looks to be the speed of this field. Hobo Ridge led into the final furlong of his last at Laurel at 26-1 before finishing fifth, beaten less than two lengths and could be dangerous if not pressed early.

And interesting entrant in the feature is Smarts, a Smarty Jones gelding from the Jonathan Sheppard barn. Smarts is out of Art Show, an accomplished turf runner who earned more than $243,000 during a career that saw her win 5 races and finish first or second 14 times from 24 starts.

Smarts has a pair of wins from four lifetime starts, with both tallies coming over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle. She comes from one of the top turf stables in the business and could be a value play in this, her turf debut.