08/31/2007 11:00PM

Carterista field light on grass skill


MIAMI - There must be rain in the forecast for south Florida on Labor Day. Why else would the starting lineup for Monday's $90,000 Carterista Handicap at Calder, which is scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the turf, include so many horses who have shown little or nothing on grass?

A field of 10 entered the Carterista, but only four - Magic Mecke, Jet Propulsion, Bob's Proud Moment, and Fleet Appeal - have shown any real affinity for the grass. The remaining six will all be better served if the race moves to the main track, as it did a year ago when Rehoboth benefited from the surface switch to defeat How's Your Halo and Cheiron.

Jet Propulsion and Magic Mecke will vie for favoritism if the race goes as scheduled. The pair met for the first time four weeks ago, finishing second and third, respectively, behind Croton Road in The Vid Stakes.

Jet Propulsion turned in a game performance that day, holding well despite engaging in a suicidal early pace battle with the 50-1 Survicat, who finished last after setting fractions of 22.51 seconds, 44.44, and 1:09.63 for the opening six furlongs of the overnight stakes. Jet Propulsion succumbed to the final surge of Croton Road, but remained 2 1/2 lengths clear of Magic Mecke for second.

Magic Mecke may have bounced a bit in The Vid after earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99 in a dead heat with Croton Road under allowance conditions just 23 days earlier. The victory came in Magic Mecke's first start since his second-place finish behind the multiple graded-stakes winner Revved Up in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup more than eight months earlier.

Both Fleet Appeal and Bob's Proud Moment are multiple winners on grass but may not be quite in the league of either Jet Propulsion or Magic Mecke.

Rehoboth will hope lightning strikes two years in a row. A son of Wagon Limit, Rehoboth would seem to have little chance if the race does go as scheduled, as he has failed to hit the board in two tries on turf.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains Magic Mecke, will not have to worry about the weather as he has also entered Electrify in the Carterista. Electrify ran instead of his stablemate when the Mecke Handicap was taken off the grass on July 4, rallying from off the pace to an easy 3 1/4-length victory over Cheiron. The win was the first for Electrify since he captured the Unbridled Stakes during the spring of 2006.