07/28/2004 11:00PM

Built Up gets top billing in familiar cast in Groomstick


MIAMI - To say the local sprint division hasn't changed much over the years would be an understatement. A perfect case in point is Saturday's $75,000 Groomstick Handicap at Calder, which brings together three of its last four winners, including likely favorite and defending champion Built Up.

Built Up rallied to defeat Swift Replica by a neck to win the 2003 Groomstick. Swift Replica will also return on Saturday - along with Dancing Guy, winner of the inaugural Groomstick in 2000, and Tour of the Cat, who outfinished Built Up to win the race in 2002.

Built Up comes in at the top of his game. A 6-year-old son of Homebuilder, Built Up won the Ponche Handicap by 4 1/4 lengths on May 29 before running the race of his life when beaten a neck by Kentucky invaders Champali and Clock Stopper in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint Handicap earlier this month.

Trained by Enrique Alonso for owner Raymond Susi, Built Up earned a 108 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the Ponche and a lifetime best 110 for his third-place finish in the Smile Sprint.

Despite those two big efforts, Built Up gets a three-pound weight concession from old nemesis Tour of the Cat in Saturday's rematch.

Tour of the Cat carries 121 pounds in the Groomstick, two less than he toted in a fourth-place finish in the Ponche. A multiple graded-stakes-winning gelding, he will be making his third start since returning from an eighth-place finish in the Dubai Golden Shaheen on March 27. He will also be reunited with long-time regular rider Abad Cabassa Jr.

Usually a stretch runner, Dancing Guy broke a long losing streak and showed a new dimension when going gate to wire to win a high-priced optional claiming and allowance race at a mile on June 25 - although he was the beneficiary of an extremely slow pace.

Swift Replica comes off his best performance since a near-miss in the 2003 Groomstick. He was beaten a head by Whenthedoveflies

following a race-long pace battle in the five-furlong Calder Turf Sprint Handicap. Swift Replica will race in blinkers for the first time Saturday and figures to contest the pace, along with Sami's Majic and Explosive Truth.

Gold Dollar, overmatched in the Smile Sprint, rallied from last to win the Fappie's Notebook Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs in his start before that, and could become a major beneficiary of a potentially hot pace on Saturday.