09/12/2003 11:00PM

Demeteor avoids sprint stars


MIAMI - Demeteor was so impressive winning his first two career starts, owner-trainer Ken Hoffman wasted little time stepping the speedy gelding up against graded stakes competition, pitting him against the likes of Shake You Down and Private Horde in the Smile Sprint Handicap.

Demeteor ultimately proved no match for two of the top ranked sprinters in the country, finishing a well beaten 12th in the Grade 3 Smile.

Hoffman took Demeteor back to the farm in Ocala to freshen him up following his disappointing stakes debut. The 4-year-old returns Monday and stretches out around two turns trying grass for the first time in the $28,000 allowance headliner carded at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Demeteor led throughout to post victories by seven and 4 1/2 lengths in his first two starts. A son of Dehere, Demeteor figures to show high speed going a distance of ground. His dam Seattle Meteor has thrown one previous turf winner.

Demeteor has not caught an easy spot although returning to the allowance ranks.

His competition includes the in form Decaf, speedy Drink a Toast, and stakes-placed Amon.

Decaf rallied from just off the pace to post a decisive 2 1/4-length victory over entry-level allowance company in his last start. He has continued to train extremely well since that outing.

Drink a Toast showed a new dimension by rallying from off the pace to finish second behind the pace setting Valid Flight under similar second-level allowance conditions on Aug. 10.

Amon, stakes placed over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course during the spring, was an entry-level allowance winner here earlier in the meet and could prove the major beneficiary of a hotly contested pace.

Jockey Jose Rivera II will hope to continue his hot riding when he rides Bigamo in Monday's feature race. Rivera won three of the first four races on Saturday's program.

Azpurua juveniles work

Trainer Manny Azpurua sent his undefeated 2-year-old colt Sir Oscar out to work an easy half-mile in 51 seconds here on Saturday. Sir Oscar will seek to sweep the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes when he goes postward in the $400,000 In Reality on Oct. 11. Sir Oscar's stablemate, the 2-year-old filly Prohibido Olividar, worked a half in 50.40 on Saturday in preparation for her next start in Saturday's $100,000 Brave Raj Stakes.

The Brave Raj will share top billing on Saturday's card along with the $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes for juvenile colts and geldings.