08/29/2003 11:00PM

Beware of Last Stand


MIAMI - The 12-horse field of turf specialists for Monday's $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap at Calder is loaded with stakes winners, including two who have previously won this Grade 3 race. But it may be a horse with no stakes experience at all, Last Stand, who has the best chance.

Last Stand enters the Miami Mile off three straight victories, two of which have come on grass. A son of Cherokee Run and a $750,000 yearling purchase at the 2001 Barretts sales, Last Stand gets in under a relatively light 113-pound weight assignment and should come away running from the rail off a recent bullet five-furlong work over the turf.

Mr. Livingston, winner of the 2001 Miami Mile, and Supah Blitz will likely vie for favoritism in one of the most competitive stakes of the meet.

Mr. Livingston has won a division of the Blazing Sword and the Nijinsky Secret Stakes during the meet and appears back on top of his game.

Supah Blitz has won two of three starts since being freshened following his 13th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. One of those victories came over the turf against older horses on July 1. One of only two 3-year-olds in the Miami Mile, his chances were compromised a bit when he was assigned post 12.

Unite's Big Red will make his first start since finishing fourth in the 2002 Miami Mile and may need a race. Now 9, Unite's Big Red won this race in 1998 when he was trained by owner Randy Mills. He currently is trained by Dave Vivian Jr.

The versatile Tour of the Cat has been raced sparingly on grass this year. He has finished worse than third but once in 11 career tries on turf. His most important victory came on the dirt earlier this year in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Stormy Roman, winner of the Pete Axthelm Stakes here last winter, proved he's rounding back to top form when he finished full of run to finish just a head behind Mr. Livingston in the Nijinsky's Secret. It was the second start of his form cycle.

Also in the main body of the race are Lavender's Lad, Dusty's Birthday, Tammany Star, Stauch, Hear No Evil, and Shotgun Fire. Most of them would benefit if the race should come off the turf.