03/24/2011 1:24PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Classy Zip stretches out, tires turf


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Classy Zip is undefeated in four career outings but faces several new challenges Saturday when she tops a field of 12 3-year-old fillies in a $30,000 overnight handicap at Tampa Bay Downs.

Classy Zip won her first three races over Polytrack in sprints at Woodbine against high-priced claiming sprinters. She returned from a two-month layoff at Laurel to rally from just off the pace going six furlongs over a sloppy main track and win by three-quarters of a length.

On Saturday, the Donald Ross homebred will try a mile on turf. She has been training over the all-weather-surface at Fair Hill.

A number of the entrants have shown potential, among them Blushandbashful, who will be shooting for her third straight win.

Blushandbashful won her career debut in a $25,000 maiden claimer at Tampa going seven furlongs, dueling through a long drive before notching a head win over Mogey, who came back to win her next start.

Trainer Joan Scott tried her on the turf next out in an optional claiming race at a mile and Blushandbashful battled throughout despite having to check several times before finishing second. The winner, Black Tulip, was disqualified and placed second for racing erratically in the stretch, giving Blushandbashful her second win.

“She’s a big, robust filly who is just starting to learn what it’s all about and we’ve been convinced all along she’ll be a good two-turn horse,” Scott said, “Her mother has thrown some very useful horses and most of those have liked Polytrack so we’re also looking forward to running her at Keeneland.

“She’s already shown she is willingly to pick it up and keep on going if she runs into trouble, so that’s a plus.”

Black Tulip’s behavior last time out was due to the filly seeing the color change from grass-cutting patterns on the turf course, according to her trainer, Mike Zwiesler. He is hopeful she will be better focused for Saturday’s race. Jockey Ronnie Allen Jr. has a return mount.

“Ronnie said she ducked when she saw the color change and did it so fast he didn’t have a chance to straighten her right away,” Zwiesler said, “but he says he’ll be prepared this time around and is confident he can get her to maintain a straight course.”

Blue Eyed Sweetie,who finished second in the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies at Calder last fall in a slow time in her only turf start, bears watching, as does Annabel Lee, who was third in Black Tulip’s race, and Glore Racer, who faces easier after finishing 10th in the Florida Oaks.