03/10/2007 12:00AM

Three are rematched on the turf


OLDSMAR, Fla. - Proud and Bold, who had plenty of traffic problems when he ran second to Midway Man in his last, will be going after his third win from his last four starts on Tuesday. He tops a field of seven in an optional claiming race at a mile on turf at Tampa Bay Downs.

Luis Gonzalez will get the mount aboard Proud and Bold for the red-hot stable of Rick Slomkowski, who is winning at a 33 percent clip this meeting. A Pentelicus gelding, Proud and Bold will carry 118 pounds.

Art of Diplomacy, third behind Proud and Bold last time out, will also be going after his third win locally this season. He is trained by Ron Behrens and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, who piloted Art of Diplomacy to both his local wins. Art of Diplomacy will carry 120 pounds.

Great Plains, fourth last out behind the top two after leading to the final sixteenth, will break from the rail under Jose Martinez Jr. and 118 pounds. He is out for his second win on the turf here this meeting.

Proud and Bold was claimed for $25,000 from a fourth-place finish at Hawthorne on Oct. 14. He was brought to Tampa and given some time off.

With blinkers added, he made his first appearance for the Slomkowski barn in a $25,000 claiming race on turf on Dec. 29. Proud and Bold rallied from just off the pace and blew past the leaders to win by more than six lengths.

Brought back in an optional claimer that was moved from the turf to the main track, Proud and Bold had to break from the tough outside post. He stalked the leaders early, made his bid into the stretch, and pulled away to win by three lengths.

Last time out, Proud and Bold was blocked twice during crucial stages of a nine-furlong turf race before finally getting clear in the final furlong. He managed to gain the place behind Midway Man, a Tom Proctor runner who was coming up from Gulfstream Park.

Art of Diplomacy won a main-track allowance race, then moved to the turf to make it two straight against a good group of competitors. Like Proud and Bold, he had to wait for racing room last time out, and finished willingly once clear.