04/12/2007 12:00AM

Tupi vs. Exton as good as it gets now


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - A typical Saturday program during the Gulfstream Park meet usually consists of one or more stakes races, perhaps a couple of them graded. But those days are gone.

With the meet winding down to a close a week from Sunday, this Saturday's card is highlighted by a pair of first-level allowance races on the turf - the first at 1 1/16 miles and the other at five furlongs.

In the seventh race, Tupi and Exton likely will vie for favoritism in a field that also includes Sweet Brush and the improved Trippi's Storm.

Tupi comes off his best race yet, capping a string of four consecutive solid turf performances dating back to his 3-year-old finale at Calder on Nov. 20. Tupi, a son of Hazaam, was steadied on both turns last out but still had enough left to finish second behind the 8-5 Saratoga Saint four weeks ago at odds of 42-1. He will be a much shorter price on Saturday, running back in a race with similar conditions.

Exton also comes off a second-place finish in an entry-level allowance race over the turf. Exton, whose trainer, Bill Mott, already has 26 wins this meet, saved ground nearly the entire trip but was unable to outfinish Loconia after taking up briefly near the eighth pole. The 84 Beyer Speed Figure that Exton earned for that effort is 1 point higher than the Beyer Figure that Tupi earned in his last start.

Sweet Brush is a promising son of Broad Brush who led throughout in a half-length maiden victory in his third start and second on grass. The victory was one of 36 for leading trainer Todd Pletcher during this meet.

Trippi's Storm may offer a little value, stepping up to allowance company off a visually impressive

maiden win against $50,000 claiming horses in his turf debut. A slow breaker, Trippi's Storm had to steady numerous times in traffic before swinging extremely wide and easily running down the leaders en route to a two-length victory. He is trained by Stanley Hough.

In the last race on the card, an optional claimer, speedsters Guns Drawn, Not Acclaim, and Shades of Sunny will be among the choices, along with the late-running Elizabul, who runs for a claiming tag for the first time.

Guns Drawn returns to the turf after finishing second behind the red-hot Romanscoliseum in his last start. Not Acclaim steps up a notch off a game grass win against $12,500 starter allowance foes last time.