03/20/2003 12:00AM

'Wicklow' goes for turf sweep


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Man From Wicklow looks like a good bet to become only the second horse to sweep Gulfstream Park's two premier turf races for older horses when he runs as the 122-pound highweight in Saturday's $200,000, Grade 2 Pan American Handicap.

Only Celtic Arms in 1996 has won the Pan Am and the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap in the same year. Flag Down won both races, but in separate years, winning the Pan Am in 1997 and the Gulfstream Park Handicap in 1998.

Man From Wicklow dominated the 1 3/8-mile Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap by nearly five lengths on Feb. 16 and is meeting virtually the same competition as he stretches out an additional furlong in the Pan Am. He picks up three pounds off his last win with Jerry Bailey again in the saddle.

"Picking up three pounds can be significant going a mile and one-half, but he's doing terrific since the Gulfstream Park Handicap and I think he's gained a lot of confidence from his last two wins," said Rick Violette Jr., who trains and owns Man From Wicklow. "If anything, he's doing even better coming into this race."

That's not good news for Man From Wicklow's competition, which includes Just Listen and Whata Brainstorm, second and seventh in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup. Surprisingly, 11 were entered for the Pan Am, but no more than 10 will start. Generous Rosi is entered for dirt only.

Just Listen has never been better, having finished third in the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida before his second-place effort in the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup.

Whata Brainstorm is looking to regain the form of his win in the 2001 Pan Am. He returns to the grass after having finished fourth in Fair Grounds's Mardi Gras Handicap, a race switched from the turf to the main track.

Macaw comes off his best performance since arriving in the U.S. from Great Britain last summer - a late-striding second to the loose-on-the-lead Riddlesdown in the Mac Diarmida.

Quest Star and Mr. Pleasentfar also are in good form.

Quest Star, winner of the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Handicap last summer at Saratoga, returned from a 3 1/2-month layoff and won a second-level allowance race going 1 3/8 miles here on Feb. 9.

Mr. Pleasentfar registered his first victory since upsetting the Grade 2 Red Smith Handicap during the fall of 2001 when he rallied to defeat optional claiming rivals here last month.

for Gulfstream Park entries.

:: Subscribers: to purchase past performances for Gulfstream Park.

:: Non-subscribers: to purchase past performances for Gulfstream Park.