11/15/2001 12:00AM

Brazilian invader alive in Red Smith


ELMONT, N.Y. - Mr. Pleasentfar from Brazil, it's a pleasure to know you.

Adaptability is one of Mr. Pleasentfar's strong suits. Since his arrival last May at trainer Marty Wolfson's barn at Calder, the Brazilian-bred 4-year-old colt has worked hard at fitting in. Now that he knows the routine of training in America, he seems eager to please. He has trained better in recent months, and there has been improvement in his racing, as well. Last month he scored his first American stakes victory with a well-timed rally to win the Flying Pidgeon Handicap at Calder. Mr. Pleasentfar is now at Aqueduct and will attempt to make it two in a row in Saturday's $150,000 Red Smith Handicap at a mile and three furlongs on the turf.

He appears well placed on distance, after having won a Group 1 stakes on the dirt in Brazil at a mile and a half.

Does he have the class to win? Wolfson, one of South Florida's most successful horsemen in recent years, would not have made the long trip from Miami if he harbored doubts.

"He is versatile, in the sense that he can lay up close and still produce a strong finish," Wolfson notes. "His first three starts in America were good efforts but were much too short for him. The first time he got his distance, in the Flying Pidgeon, he won."

Mr. Pleasentfar is owned by Raja Malek of Brazil, who keeps a keen eye on the international racing scene.

"I have another Brazilian horse in the barn named Pavillon," Wolfson said. "He was flown to Monmouth Park to win a stake and Mr. Malek read about it. He contacted me and asked if I would be interested in having a second Brazilian horse. Mr. Pleasentfar looks like a good one and acts like it. We should find out more about this in the Red Smith."

Memories of My Juliet

Who's the fastest horse you've seen?

Some of the fastest - and a few of the choices may surprise you - include Bold Ruler, Northern Dancer, Forego, and Swaps. You might want to include My Juliet and Red Cross, too.

The death of My Juliet, champion sprinter of 1976, was reported the other day, conjuring memories of a remarkable race at Monmouth Park in the summer of 1975. My Juliet won the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico and shipped to Monmouth Park for the summer season. Her trainer, Gene Euster, entered her in the six-furlong Miss Woodford, which also attracted a rapid Dixiana Farm filly named Red Cross. Everyone knew My Juliet was fast, and there were rumors Red Cross could fly.

My Juliet and Red Cross went at each other from the outset, and it was something to see. They ran the first quarter in 20.60 seconds, and they were still slugging it out through a half-mile in 43 seconds.

Naturally, neither was around for the finish, with Stulcer the winner in 1:09. For as long as they lasted, however, My Juliet and Red Cross put on quite a show.