03/11/2005 1:00AM

Turf features offer bettors many choices


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Handicappers who like a challenge and a little value for their betting buck will love Sunday's Canadian Turf and Honey Fox handicaps at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile grass races drew full and evenly matched fields.

Seven of the 11 colts and geldings in the Canadian Turf will share high weight of 114 pounds, with two others pegged at just a pound less. Selecting the favorite, let alone winner, could be a task, although the potent trainer-jockey combination of Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez will likely be the deciding factor in making Icy Atlantic the public's tepid choice.

comes off a fifth-place finish behind Star Over the Bay in the Sunshine Millions Turf. In his previous start, Icy Atlantic fell victim to the world-record-setting performance of Mr. Light, finishing second under allowance conditions on opening day.

"I thought he ran well at Santa Anita, but he just got back a little further than he needed to be," said Pletcher of Icy Atlantic's performance in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

also exits the Sunshine Millions Turf, where he finished sixth, a neck behind Icy Atlantic. A 6-year-old son of Out of Place, Union Place captured the Ft. Lauderdale Handicap here in his 2005 debut three weeks earlier.

, whose accomplishments in England include a victory over Magistretti and several Group 3 placings at 3 and 4, will make his U.S. debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and will also attract plenty of attention with Jerry Bailey taking the mount. A son of Swain, he has trained well for the race over the Palm Meadows turf course.

Among the other key contenders in the Canadian Turf are Old Forester, who has not been worse than second in his last five starts; Big Booster, riding a two-race win streak; the speedy Grade 3 winner Gulch Approval; and Scooter Roach.

In the Grade 3 Honey Fox, only three pounds separate the co-highweights - River Belle, Potra Fabulous, Fast Cookie and Where We Left Off - from their nine rivals.

is another member of the potent Pletcher barn. She will be making her first start since winning the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs last year in her 3-year-old finale. She was beaten just a length in the Grade 1 QEII Handicap in 2004.

"She's been training fantastic, and I'm very pleased with her," said Pletcher, who will again have Velazquez aboard River Belle.

, trained by Bobby Frankel, was making her first start in seven months when she won a money allowance race on Feb. 11. A 6-year-old mare, she was a Group 1 winner in her native Argentina in 2003.

is one of two mares trainer Bill Mott will send out in the Honey Fox, along with the enigmatic Sand Springs.

Fast Cookie, a Grade 2 winner on dirt at 3, was beaten a half-length

by Delta Princess in Tampa's Endeavour Stakes on Feb. 26. Sand Springs, who was transferred to Mott's barn after being purchased privately following her 2004 finale, broke badly and finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite under allowance conditions here on Feb. 11.

Where We Left Off, a winner of 4 of 7 starts last season, including the Grade 3 Matchmaker, will make her first start since finishing fourth

in the Violet Handicap at The Meadowlands on Oct. 22.

Marwood and Changing World finished a neck apart when they were second and third in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf.