11/03/2001 12:00AM

Bill White tops Calder meet again

Email

MIAMI - After winning the last four Calder training titles Bill White went into the 2001 season the odds-on favorite to add another trophy to his mantelpiece. He did not disappoint the chalkplayers, running away with the crown by a comfortable margin over Ralph Ziadie and Manny Tortora.

White, who has also won or shared the last three Tropical titles, took the victory in stride.

"Naturally, it's very gratifying to come out on top," said White. "Not only for me but the entire crew at the barn. This year we had a consistent, hard-hitting meet that was quite enjoyable because we really did well from start to finish. It wasn't one of those roller-coaster type meets with a lot of winning streaks or real long droughts."

White also had no trouble zeroing in on the highlight of the session.

"Blissful Kiss winning the Stallion Stakes was clearly the high point of the summer," said White. "If you asked me back in May what the most important objective was this season it was to pull off a victory in the My Dear Girl with Blissful Kiss and we did it. We accomplished our main goal."

White said Blissful Kiss, a John Franks homebred, will now be pointed to either the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct or the Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs. Both races are on Nov. 24.

White was not the only trainer to have a big Calder meet. Larry Pilotti finished fourth in the standings while saddling winners at a nearly 29 percent clip, helping his main client the Monarch Stable to yet another leading owner title. Bobby Hale and Pablo Andre also posted better than 20 percent success rates during the meet, which ended on Saturday.

While winning championships is old hat for White, it was a new experience for leading rider Cornelio Velasquez, who not only captured his first ever Calder crown but also his first title in the United States.

Velasquez, who transferred his tack here on a regular basis for the first time this summer, led most of the way while pressed from start to finish by runner-up Rosemary Homeister Jr.

"I'm really happy. Coming here this summer was a good decision," said Velasquez. "Right now I'm planning to stay here not only through the Tropical meet but this winter as well. I have a good agent [Gil Graell] and good business, so I think I'm going to give Gulfstream a try."

Velasquez switched his tack to Aqueduct during the 2000 Gulfstream meet.