09/04/2001 12:00AM

Turf sprint right spot for Painter


In South America, Painter was an early sensation, winning his first six career starts, including three Group 1 stakes. In the nearly two years since he first raced in the United States, however, Painter has been a huge disappointment, unable to win a single race.

After failing in Southern California for trainer Ron McAnally, the now 5-year-old Painter is attempting to resurrect his once-promising career in Florida under the care of Frank Gomez.

Despite how poorly Painter has raced since arriving in the U.S. in late 1999, he is still matched against higher-class horses. He finds a good spot to regain some of his lost confidence in a minor stakes Thursday at Calder, the $35,000 Go With the Times Handicap.

The five-furlong turf sprint may be just what Painter needs to regain his old form.

He was 3 for 3 on grass in his native Argentina, but has been on the turf only once since coming to America.

In his only other start for Gomez, Painter was scheduled to run on grass in late June, but the small stakes was moved to the main track. After showing speed to the stretch call, Painter faded badly and beat just one horse.

Given more time to regroup, Painter has shown signs of life in the morning. He has turned in three excellent workouts prepping for Thursday's race, including a bullet move of 48.20 seconds for four furlongs last Sunday, the best of 28 works at the distance.

Of the seven sprinters Painter will face, Kipperscope appears the most formidable threat. A 4-year-old trained by Ross Wolfendale, Kipperscope has flashed outstanding speed every time he races. He came close to upsetting the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap in mid-July, jumping out to a three-length lead. But he tired in the late going and had to settle for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the standout turf sprint specialist Texas Glitter.

In Kipperscope's most recent turf race, a high-priced optional claimer on July 31, he wired a field of eight horses and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99.

Sam's Concorde, who breaks from the rail, appears dangerous, based on his four wins in eight grass starts. He finished 1 1/2 lengths behind Kipperscope in the July 31 race and now cuts back from 1 1/16 miles to five furlongs, his best distance. His trainer, Paschal Bignault, is adept at shortening up horses.

for entries.

Subscribers, to purchase Past Performances.

Non-subscribers, to purchase Past Performances.