06/30/2004 11:00PM

B.B. Best appears unbeatable


MIAMI - B.B. Best should have little trouble keeping his perfect record intact and maintaining his status as the undisputed leader of the local 2-year-old division when he faces seven seemingly overmatched rivals in Saturday's $100,000 Criterium Stakes at Calder.

About the only question facing B.B. Best in his quest for a third straight victory is the added distance of the 5 1/2-furlong Criterium. B.B. Best raced only five furlongs in each of his two previous outings, a 14 3/4-length maiden victory on May 22 and a 3 1/2-length triumph over a sloppy track in the Wynn Dot Comma Stakes on June 6.

But at this point B.B. Best doesn't appear to have any distance limitations and the extra sixteenth of a mile should prove little obstacle for the son of Yes It's True, who is the third stakes winner for his dam, Bold Juana. Eddie Plesa Jr. has called B.B. Best the most talented 2-year-old he has ever trained at this early stage of a horse's career and is pointing the speedy colt for the Florida Stallion series, which begins Aug. 14 with the six-furlong Dr. Fager Stakes.

B.B. Best's chief opposition figures to come from Devils Disciple, an easy 3 1/4-length winner of his career debut on May 15 but no match for runaway winner B.B. Best when finishing a distant second in the Wynn Dot Comma.

"Obviously, I'd prefer Eddie's colt not be in there, and if he runs the same race he ran in the Wynn Dot Comma I probably can't beat him," said Joe Waunsch, who trains Devil's Disciple. "But I know my horse is doing even better than when he went into that last start, and the added distance should be a big plus for him.

"Fortunately, this is the last time I'll have to face B.B. Best for a while, since my horse is not eligible for the Stallion Stakes."

Magic Speed is an improving runner who woke up with a big performance when stretched out to 5 1/2 furlongs for the first time on June 5, overcoming early trouble en route to a 1 3/4-length maiden victory. His ability to come running at the end could serve him well in the Criterium, which figures to feature an honest early pace.

G P's Black Knight, named for legendary professional golfer and co-owner Gary Player, is the only other member of the field aside from B.B. Best who enters the race undefeated.

G P's Black Knight began his career two weeks ago with an easy 6 1/2-length victory while debuting under a $50,000 claiming tag, but will get tested for class in the Criterium.