11/04/2003 12:00AM

Big guns heading to Florida Millions


MIAMI - Last year's inaugural Florida Millions was a success, and from the looks of the nominations this year, the second running could be even better.

Todd Pletcher, Allen Jerkens, Bill Mott, and Christophe Clement, all based in New York, are among the high-profile trainers who have nominated horses to one or more of the six stakes races on the Nov. 15 Florida Millions card. Their horses will face strong local opposition, including Florida Millions defending champions Best of the Rest and Tour of the Cat.

Pletcher will send multiple graded stakes winner Smok'n Frolic here for the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap and Pick 'Em for the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap.

Jerkens is considering starting Puzzlement in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Handicap and Mike's Classic in the Dudley Sprint. In his last start, Puzzlement finished third behind Mineshaft and Hold That Tiger in the Grade 1 Woodward on Sept. 6. He would be the odds-on favorite if he goes in the Rose despite the presence of Best of the Rest.

Clement will send Proud Man, to be ridden by Jerry Bailey, in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup, a race Mott won a year ago with Miesque's Approval. Proud Man had a two-race win streak snapped when he was beaten a nose by Freefourinternet in the Grade 2 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap last month at Belmont.

Mott's horse for the Bonnie Heath, Orchard Park, won five of seven starts in 2002, including the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream but has started only twice this year and has been idle since early April.

The Carl G. Rose will have a short field, with or without Puzzlement. Only eight horses were made eligible for the race, including Tour of the Cat, who was also nominated to the Bonnie Heath and the Jack Dudley Sprint. Tour of the Cat won the first edition of the seven-furlong Jack Dudley in 2002, and in his last start beat Best of the Rest going a 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap.

Gulfstream Park barn area open

The Gulfstream Park barn area opened its doors Saturday and horses began training over the track on Monday. Among the early arrivals were the advance forces from Pletcher's barn and members of H. James Bond's powerful stable. Both trainers will eventually make their winter headquarters at the Palm Meadows training facility in Boynton Beach. The training facility does not open until Nov. 28.

Gulfstream Park will house 1,325 horses this winter, and Palm Meadows will house an additional 1,440 horses. The 2004 Gulfstream meet opens on Jan. 3.

Douglas, Karamanos join colony

The local jockey colony, already boosted by the return of three-time Tropical Park riding champion Eibar Coa, will get stronger later this week with Rene Douglas and Horacio Karamanos listed on mounts for Thursday's program.

Douglas won his second straight Arlington Park title this summer; Karamanos returns from Maryland, where he was leading rider at the Pimlico meet that recently ended.

Coa, who finished second at the 2002 Tropical meeting before capturing the 2003 Gulfstream title, passed Hall of Fame jockey Jacinto Vasquez as the all-time winningest rider in Tropical-at-Calder history earlier this meet.

Spectacular Lisa likely favorite Thursday

Despite facing older horses, Spectacular Lisa will likely be favored when she returns to the allowance ranks in Thursday's $28,000 feature, a third-level optional claiming race.

Spectacular Lisa trailed throughout the Calder Oaks on Oct. 11 after being bumped and then stumbling after the start. She returns to the main track for the first time since posting a 2 1/2-length victory in the Dream on Stakes on Aug. 24. A 3-year-old daughter of Formal Gold, the Joe Calascibetta-trained Spectacular Lisa has never finished worse than second in five main-track starts, and won her last two tries against older horses, earlier this year.

Me Gotta Go and Fidget lead the competition, which also includes Never Fail, Mystical Beauty, Hannah's Temper, Ms Rapunzel, and Gaby G.

* Second of June, who was second behind Stolen Time in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 20, easily defeated first-level allowance company in Monday's co-featured ninth event. Trained by Bill Cesare, Second of June will likely be pointed for the $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes on Dec. 13.