02/15/2002 1:00AM

Wow! A $351 show payoff!


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - When heavily favored Pleasant County faded to finish out of the money at 2-5 in Friday's seventh race at Gulfstream, bridge jumpers who plunged on her were crushed, and the result was the highest show price in history.

Man I Love Clare, who ran second, paid a whopping $351.40 to show, a national record, according to Gulfstream officials. Emery Board, the race winner at 5-1, paid $12.20 to win and $86 to show. Third-place finisher Long Haul returned $125.80 to show.

Of the $406,934 in the show pool, $396,410 was bet on Pleasant County. The major bets in the pool were a $200,000 wager placed at Santa Anita, and a $100,000 wager, placed through a phone account in Pennsylvania, that came through the Aqueduct hub.

Canadian a better fit for Pisces

There is certainly no shortage of good male turf horses stabled in south Florida this winter. A full field of 12 was scheduled to run in Saturday's Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Handicap and another crowded gate is expected for next Saturday's $150,000 Canadian Turf Handicap.

Among the prospective starters for the Grade 3 Canadian Turf is the much-improved Pisces, upset winner of the Grade 2 Appleton Handicap here on Jan. 5. He is one of the few horses Mohammed Moubarak continues to train as he prepares to take over the position of racing manager for his principal client, the Buckram Oak Farm.

"I considered the Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup for Pisces but decided the Canadian was the better option," Moubarak said. "The Breeders' Cup is at a mile and three-eighths, and while this horse has given me every indication he can get that far, he had a tie-back operation earlier in his career and I didn't want to take the chance of stretching him out further right now."

Tie-back surgery is used to repair a breathing problem, and Moubarak said it took Pisces a couple of races to get used to the change. But once he did, he showed marked improvement, and has won three of his last five starts, including the Appleton, in which he ran down North East Bound in the final strides to earn his first stakes victory.

"You can definitely see the improvement and I think he's got room to move forward even more as he continues to get more professional," said Moubarak. "He's a big, heavy horse who took some time to mature, and his size is also the reason I brought him over to Calder to work earlier this week. The Gulfstream track is a bit on the hard side now and jars him up when he trains over it."

Galic Boy, Hap consider Canadian

Galic Boy, who finished a troubled fourth in the roughly run Ft. Lauderdale Handicap on Jan. 26, is another veteran with an eye on the Canadian Turf.

"My horse got roughed up and bumped around quite a bit in his last start," said trainer Mickey Goldfine. "He suffered a cut on his right hind tendon that took two weeks to heal and another on his left hind sesamoid. It was a rough race but should have done him a lot of good since it was his first start in nearly three months. The Canadian appears to be coming up pretty tough, so we'll wait and see what it looks like before making a final decision."

At Payson Park in Indiantown on Friday morning, trainer Bill Mott said that Hap, one of this nation's premier turf milers, could make his first start of the year in the Canadian. Mott said Hap remained in training this year at age 6 "because we'd like to win a Grade 1 with him."

Hap has not raced since finishing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Mott said that either Hap or Del Mar Show, both owned by the estate of Allen Paulson, would head to Dubai for a $1 million race at one mile on turf there on March 23.

Listen Here drills for Swale

Listen Here, who has not raced since suffering his first career loss when finishing sixth in Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes on Nov. 24, breezed a half-mile in 50 seconds Friday morning at Payson.

Mott, his trainer, said Listen Here would be pointed to the seven-furlong Swale Stakes on March 16.

Listen Here won his first three races, but failed in his only try around two turns. "The quarter pole fell down, and he tripped over it," Mott said, jokingly.

New plan for Miss Linda

Miss Linda, who was an overpowering winner of the Sabin Handicap on Feb. 8, will bypass next month's Rampart Handicap here and instead point to the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April, trainer John Kimmel said at Payson Park.

Kimmel said he wanted to point for Grade 1 races, and he wanted to give Miss Linda more time between starts. Kimmel said he would instead run Unbridled Waters in the Rampart. Unbridled Waters returned from a six-month layoff to win a nonwinners-of-three allowance race by 4 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream on Jan. 31.

Churchill stumps for stakes runners

Donnie Richardson, Churchill Downs's senior vice president of racing, and Calder racing secretary Bob Umphrey were making the rounds on the Gulfstream Park backstretch Friday morning, seeking nominations for the Kentucky Oaks and the Woodford Reserve Classic. Nominations for both Grade 1 races closed Saturday.

The Oaks is perhaps the most prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies in the country, and is traditionally run the day before the Kentucky Derby. The Woodford Reserve highlights the Derby undercard, and this year it will be worth $400,000, up $100,000 from a year ago.

"I've been delighted with the response we've received for both races," said Richardson. "In light of the economy and everything else that has happened this past year I wasn't sure interest would be this high, but right now it looks like both races will close with about the same number of nominations as a year ago."

Incentives offered for active trainers

In the hopes of increasing business at the entry box, the racing office is running a contest that offers awards for trainers who have the best "starts per stall" record at the meet. The names of the leaders are posted on a chalkboard located just inside the entry counter.

The awards are broken down into four categories depending upon stall allotment. In the one to seven stall category, Louis Liebskind and Raymond Lawrence lead with 1.7 and 1.6 starts per stall, respectively; Anthony Pecoraro (1.5) and Charles Harvatt (1.4) top the 8 to 14 stall list; Wayne Catalano and Norman Pointer (1.0 apiece) lead in the 15 to 21 stall division, while Bill Mott (1.4), Dale Romans (1.1), and Nick Zito (1.0) are the front-runners among trainers with 22 stalls and up.

Racing secretary Dave Bailey had an interesting comment on the incentive program.

"Dave said he really should post a list of the trainers with the least starts per stall," said assistant racing secretary Mike Anifantis. "But he said that list would be way too long."

o The racetrack was rated "good" during training hours Friday, but Beware Avalanche made it look super fast after working five furlongs in 59.40 seconds. Beware Avalanche was claimed by trainer Norman Pointer in the interests of the Runnin Horse Farm Inc. for $100,000 out of a third-place finish on Feb. 4.

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch