03/20/2007 11:00PM

Trueheart needs nothing more than better luck

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Few horses have had worse racing luck this winter at Gulfstream Park than Trueheart, who might have been best in each of his last two starts but didn't win either. The stretch-running gelding will attempt to reverse his recent fortunes Friday in a $46,000 first-level allowance at five furlongs on the turf.

Trueheart finished second, beaten a half-length, after being forced to take up several times in traffic in a similar allowance dash on Feb. 9. He returned four weeks later against virtually the same competition and was third again, beaten less than a length by the pace-setting winner Lucky to Cope. Trueheart steadied and fell to the rear of the pack in the opening furlong of that race, and then fanned extremely wide going into the stretch.

Trueheart, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus, captured his only other start this winter, at Tampa Bay Downs. He withstood a stretch-long battle to win a maiden special weight originally scheduled for the turf but switched to the main track.

Trueheart will be ridden again by Javier Castellano for trainer Robert Ribaudo.

Should a black cloud continue to hang over Trueheart's withers, Guns Drawn could prove the major beneficiary. A speedy son of Carson City, he finished a tiring seventh after being bumped at the break and chasing the swift pace of eventual winner Lucky to Cope on March 3. The outing was the first in 3 1/2 months for Guns Drawn, whose only victory came going five furlongs on the turf at this meet nearly a year ago.

Guns Drawn may take catching under jockey Joe Bravo if able to avoid an early speed duel with Snow Tiger, who has a turn of foot but has never started on turf and hasn't raced at all since Aug. 6 at Charles Town.

Dead Red used a hedge-skimming trip to finish a neck in front of Trueheart for second when they met for a second time earlier this month. Dead Red finished a couple of heads and noses behind Trueheart in their previous encounter, four weeks earlier. Dead Red has shown marked improvement since being switched from dirt to turf by trainer George Mikhalides earlier in the meet.

Premier Event, another relative newcomer to grass, came close in his two turf starts and could be ready for his best yet while making the third start of his form cycle.