03/26/2007 11:00PM

Turf takes spotlight in final month


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Color the final month of the 2007 Gulfstream Park meeting green. Green as in grass racing.

The turf course figures to be put to good use over the next four weeks. At this time a year ago, grass races dominated the daily cards. Such will be the case on Thursday with four of the nine events scheduled for the turf course, including the co-featured fifth and seventh races, both $46,000 first-level allowance races.

Fillies and mares take the spotlight in the fifth event, with the six-time winner Top Time the one to beat. The razor-sharp Top Time has already posted a pair of victories and a second-place finish here this winter while racing exclusively against starter allowance opposition. She comes off her most impressive performance yet, on March 9, a come-from-behind 3 3/4-length decision that earned her a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

Things are going so well for Top Time and her trainer, Ferris Allen III, that even though she loses her regular jockey, Kent Desormeaux, who is en route to Dubai to ride Premium Tap in Saturday's World Cup, she will have leading rider Cornelio Velasquez aboard on Thursday.

Secret Witness, the only other multiple winner in the field, and Nunnery should provide Top Time with her stiffest competition.

Secret Witness comes off a game third under similar conditions three weeks earlier, missing by less than two lengths after contesting the pace nearly the entire trip. In her previous outing, Secret Witness led throughout, withstanding a torrid stretch duel to post a neck decision over $50,000 rivals.

The seventh race is for 3-year-old fillies, the best of whom may be In for a Dime, who narrowly missed beating the same kind for trainer Graham Motion on Jan. 28. In for a Dime rallied from well back only to fall a neck short while finishing third as the 2-1 favorite.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano will replace Edgar Prado aboard In for a Dime. Prado opts instead to ride Sugar Baby Love for trainer Michael Matz. Sugar Baby Love won a listed race launching her career last summer in her native Germany. She then finished second in a Group 2 stakes before finishing far back against Group 1 opposition there in her 2-year-old finale.