12/15/2011 2:06PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Zeenut hoping to take on males in allowance feature


OLDSMAR, Fla. – Zeenut, a fast-closing third in her last outing, will take on the boys in Saturday’s allowance feature at Tampa Bay Downs if she can draw into the body of the race from the also-eligibles. Zeenut is part of a well-matched field of 14 turf runners entered in the mile and a sixteenth race. Only 10 will be allowed to start.

Others in the first-level allowance sporting solid credentials include two other also-eligibles, Plainview, who raced close up until late in his last race at Churchill while making his first start since April, and Play It Straight, a winner against high-priced claiming rivals at Monmouth Park three races back and seventh, beaten less than four lengths most recently at Calder, in his first start in six weeks.

Among those in the body of the race, Harley’s Heat and Mz’s Don Zulon deserve serious consideration.

Zeenut, from the Rusty Arnold stable, won her second career start, rallying from off the pace to whip a field of maidens over the Polytrack at Turfway last December. She was sidelined until August when she returned to action on the turf at Arlington Park. She led to the final strides of that allowance route while finishing second, beaten just a neck.

After a disappointing ninth in her next on the grass at Arlington, Zeenut moved to Kentucky Downs where she came from off the pace through the long stretch of that course to be third, beaten two lengths. While she is hoping to try male competition Saturday, Zeenut’s late-running style could help her spring a mild upset.

Plainview left the maiden ranks over a yielding turf course at Churchill last fall, then came back to be third in his first outing against winners at Gulfstream. After being off from January to March the Ian Wilkes trainee was a troubled sixth in an allowance race in which eventual Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom finished second.

In his most recent start Nov. 19, Plainview broke from a tough outside post in a mile allowance turf race at Churchill, raced in striking distance to midstretch, then weakened to eighth while making his first outing since April.

Play It Straight won his first race over the Tampa turf course last April and while he has been compromised by some gaps between starts, should not be taken lightly. Trainer Jane Cibelli has a solid record with her turf starters locally and also has a 28 percent success rate with horses making their second start off a layoff.

Harley’s Heat won over the local grass last February and also finished first in another turf race here before being disqualified for interference. Although off since February, he has run well off a layoff in the past.

Mz’s Don Zulon has nine career wins, including four on the turf, and won two of his last three turf outings before catching three races at Calder that were moved from the turf to the main track.

Folk Singer has been rounding into form with a win and second in his last two starts and led from start to finish most recently to leave the maiden ranks in his second career turf try.