02/09/2008 12:00AM

Trio better on turf, but favored on dirt


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Even though all three appear to be better suited to grass than the 1 1/8 miles they will travel over the main track, Touched by Madness, Frost Giant, and Mach Glory will likely be the top three betting choices in Monday's $75,000 optional claiming feature race at Gulfstream Park.

Of the three, Touched by Madness has had the most success on dirt. A 6-year-old son of Sword Dance, Touched by Madness was stakes-placed over the main track at Monmouth last season and won a $250,000 claiming race here last winter. Overall, he has posted 4 of his 6 career victories on dirt, although he was stakes-placed on grass in both the Grade 3 Red Bank and Grade 3 Cliff Hanger in 2007.

Touched by Madness was good enough over all surfaces last year to win himself out from the $100,000 claiming price he fetched when haltered by trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. for owners Jeffrey and Randolph Kallenberg from his 2007 debut here last winter, banking in excess of $117,000. He qualifies for Monday's race, which is also open to second-level allowance runners, by competing under a $75,000 price tag.

In contrast, Frost Giant will try dirt for the first time in his career. A two-time Group 3 winner in Europe prior to shipping to the United States to compete in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational during the fall of 2006, Frost Giant was disqualified to second for interfering with runner-up Parading after crossing the finish line first under similar optional claiming conditions on the turf here last month.

Mach Glory has also had his finest hour on grass, winning the Group 1 Estrellas Juvenile Stakes and finishing second in the Group 1 Grand Criterium Stakes over the turf last summer in his native Argentina. Unlike Frost Giant, however, Mach Glory has registered one victory on dirt and comes off a much needed U.S. debut, where he finished a tiring fourth going 7 1/2 furlongs here on Jan. 10.

Delosvientos may ultimately prove the one to catch after chasing Grade 1 winner Commentator's record- setting performance at a mile here on Jan. 17. Delosvientos seeks to re-capture the form which saw him win three straight races within a five-week period, including the 1 1/2-mile Arthur L. Stakes last season at Calder.

Park Avenue Prince, a stakes winner for trainer Steve Kelsaris last summer in Virginia, will race coupled with Delosvientos as a Giuseppe Iadisernia-owned entry. Both parts of the entry are entered for the $75,000 tag.