01/28/2004 12:00AM

Vacation over for familiar rivals


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Ten months ago, Charge and Purely Classic finished one-two over the Gulfstream Park turf course in the Caltech Handicap. They'll match strides again Friday, but this time under allowance conditions for a much more modest $36,000 purse, in a field that also includes the graded stakes-placed Certifiably Crazy.

in the 2003 Caltech. Purely Classic had surged to a clear lead in early stretch as the 7-5 favorite that afternoon but proved no match for the winner near the wire.

Charge started only once more, finishing fifth in Belmont's Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes on June 14 on dirt. Charge has had a couple of works on the local grass course, including a bullet half-mile in 50 seconds Wednesday.

Purely Classic also enters Friday's race off an extended vacation, having been idle since finishing second under similar second-level allowance conditions at Saratoga on Aug. 29. Purely Classic was an allowance winner on this course last winter, and was also a troubled second in Monmouth Park's Lamplighter in the summer.

Certifiably Crazy will be making his first start Friday since being purchased privately and turned over to trainer Harry Benson following a hard-luck second-place finish going a mile at Calder on Nov. 28. A New York-bred, Certifiably Crazy finished a game second behind the odds-on favorite Stroll in the Grade 3 Calder Derby in his previous start.

The pace of Friday's race figures to be honest, with Wheaton's Aly stretching out off a steady diet of sprint races and the speedy Crack the Veneer stepping up in class off an entry-level allowance win at Calder on closing day.

Flying Jazz will be trainer John Ward Jr.'s first starter at the meet and could be dangerous if he runs back to his 2003 finale when he was outgamed by a nose by Proud Partner under second-level allowance conditions.

The complexion of the race would also change if Albaaz draws in off the also-eligible list for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who has saddled eight winners from his first 11 starters at the meet. Albaaz, whose only previous turf start came in a maiden special weight race won by the multiple turf stakes winner Nothing to Lose, would likely add to the hectic pace scenario if he gets in.