Updated on 09/17/2011 9:58AM

Velazquez to ride Allamerican Bertie


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - With Jerry Bailey scheduled to ride in California next Saturday, trainer Steve Flint has secured the services of John Velazquez to ride Allamerican Bertie in that day's $200,000 Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

On Saturday morning, Velazquez got acquainted with Allamerican Bertie by guiding her through a five-furlong workout officially timed in 1:02.80 over Gulfstream's main track.

"I wanted him to get a little feel for her," Flint said. "When the exercise rider gets on her, she tends to go a little too fast. Maybe I should put him on her."

Later in the day, Allamerican Bertie was assigned topweight of 122 pounds for the Grade 2 Rampart, run at nine furlongs on the dirt. She will concede from 4 to 10 pounds to a field that is expected to include Smok'n Frolic (118), Nonsuch Bay (117), Softly (115), and possibly Redoubled Miss (113) and Small Promises (112).

Coming off a 5 1/4-length victory in the Sabin Handicap on Feb. 8, Allamerican Bertie figures to go off a short-priced favorite in the Rampart.

"The only thing you worry about is weight," Flint said. "You don't want to pick up too much weight early in the year. Discussing carrying 122 pounds, Flint said. "That's about as much as I ever want to run her at. I'm going to try and keep the weight off as much as I can. After this I'll put her away till Churchill."

Eugene's Third Son stretches out

Eugene's Third Son may have fueled some Derby dreams for his connections on Saturday by winning a nine-furlong, entry-level allowance race by 1 3/4 lengths over Formal Attire.

Eugene's Third Son, a son of Indian Charlie, was stretching out to two turns from a second-place finish in a six-furlong first-level allowance race on Jan. 26, a race in which he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 101.

Trainer Patrick Byrne said the reason he thought Eugene's Third Son could stretch out was his "laid-back" mentality. After setting blazing fractions in the Jan. 26 race, Eugene's Third Son raced on the lead Saturday in splits of 24.46 seconds, 48.44 and 1:12.47. He turned back challenges from Nebuchadnezzar and Formal Attire turning for home and pulled away with only a few taps from jockey Pat Day.

"We said let's see how far he'll go," Byrne said. "The main thing that made us do that is he's got such a brilliant mind. He did the job today; it was a good effort. I think those were nice horses behind him, too. Obviously, he'll improve off of that. How far he'll go? I don't know. It gives us aspirations."

Byrne said it was unlikely Eugene's Third Son would run back in the Florida Derby on March 15 because Byrne would like four weeks between starts. The $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway fits that timing as it is scheduled for March 22.

Trust N Luck's problem solved?

A visit to the dentist may make Trust N Luck even more difficult to beat in the Grade 1 Florida Derby than he was in his easy Fountain of Youth Stakes victory here Feb. 15.

Despite Trust N Luck's 5 1/4-length victory in the Fountain of Youth, trainer Ralph Ziadie was concerned by the way his 3-year-old had been lugging in during some of his races.

"We went over him from top to bottom and couldn't find anything that might be causing the problem," said Ziadie. "Then I had our dentist take a look and he found a cracked tooth. So I'm hoping that's all it was and he won't be trying to lug in any more."

The Florida Derby will be Trust N Luck's last start before the Kentucky Derby. Ziadie said he will stick to the same training and work schedule that he used bringing the son of Montbrook up to the Fountain of Youth off a nine-week layoff, meaning Trust N Luck will have just one serious work before the race.

In fact if all continues to go well, Ziadie plans to follow a similar path into the Kentucky Derby.

"I'll keep him with me at Calder and wait to ship him to Churchill Downs with my son Kirk about 11 or 12 days before the race," said Ziadie. "I'll two-minute lick him over the track there maybe the Tuesday or Wednesday of Derby week. In fact I might not even go to Louisville myself until the Thursday before the Derby."

Kimmel hopes for strong finish

A year ago, trainer John Kimmel started out strong at the Gulfstream meet but faltered late while finishing third in the trainer standings with 19 winners from 66 starts. His .287 winning percentage was third-best among the top 20 trainers.

While Kimmel, 48, has won with five of his first 26 starters (a .192 percentage) at this meet, it has been a frustrating winter for him.

One of Kimmel's top 3-year-olds, Silver Squire, fractured a knee when finishing third in the Spectacular Bid Stakes on opening day and could be finished. Another 3-year-old, Outer Reef, suffered a tear of his sacroiliac in his back, and was given a month off. He is due back in training in a couple of weeks, but will miss many stakes opportunities this spring.

A third 3-year-old, Indy Flag, has been training well, and Kimmel will be seeking a spot for him in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, two of Kimmel's stakes winner from last year's Gulfstream meet, Hook and Ladder and Miss Linda, are on their way back. Hook and Ladder, who won the Mr. Prospector Handicap last year, is breezing up to a half-mile at Payson Park and is about four weeks away, Kimmel said.

Hook and Ladder, who has not run since the Forego last September, had an abscess in the tissue under his epiglottis. Kimmel just gave him time when told that surgery was not needed. "We treated it conservatively," he said. "Antibiotics, rest, and local irrigation."

Miss Linda, who began the year with a victory in the Sabin Handicap, arrived at Kimmel's Payson Park barn on Thursday. Miss Linda, who also won the Grade 1 Spinster in 2001, was suffering from a fractured knee that did not need surgery. Kimmel is hoping to get her back by late spring. Her last race came in the Go for Wand at Saratoga.

"Last year, we started out strong and finished slow," Kimmel said. "Now, we're starting slow and, hopefully, we'll finish strong."

Hurtak having strong meet

Trainer Dan Hurtak is quietly having an excellent winter.

Hurtak, who has captured four Calder training titles, won his 11th race of the meet when sending out Sea Leon to a game victory in Friday's seventh race. He is currently fourth in the standings behind Mark Shuman, Bill Mott, and Todd Pletcher.

"We really don't have any stars in the barn," said Hurtak who has 16 stalls split evenly between the Gulfstream and Calder barn areas. "Mine is a claiming operation and I'm just trying to find good, hard-knocking horses to replace the ones I lose. We sort of fell into a slump at the end of the Calder meet so I cleaned out some of my old stock and pretty much started over again. Fortunately things have been working out really well so far."

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch