11/23/2004 1:00AM

'D'Wildcat' faces softer in return


MIAMI - D'Wildcat Speed celebrated Thanksgiving weekend last year by capping off a perfect season with a Group 1 victory at Puerto Rico's El Commandante racetrack. This Thanksgiving, D'Wildcat Speed will be looking to get her first victory since that race when she faces seven other fillies and mares in the $40,000 Pocahontas Stakes at Calder.

First post for the 11-race Thanksgiving Day card will be 11 a.m.

won all 12 of her starts, including four Group 1 races, during a sensational 2003 3-year-old campaign in Puerto Rico. But D'Wildcat Speed, a homebred daughter of Forest Wildcat, has been unable to duplicate that success since shipping to the United States this past winter. In fact, she has made only two starts, both at Gulfstream Park, since arriving, and she will have been idle nearly eight months coming into the 6 1/2-furlong Pocahontas.

D'Wildcat Speed was able to hold her own in her two Gulfstream appearances, which were against much tougher opposition than she will be encountering in the Pocahontas. She finished an even fifth behind House Party and Mooji Moo in her 2004 debut, the Hurricane Bertie Handicap, before stretching out around two turns and finishing second behind the odds-on favorite Nonsuch Bay in the Banshee Breeze Handicap.

Trained by Bill White, D'Wildcat Speed has been training well for her return with a series of sharp works, capped off by a bullet six furlongs in 1:15 on Nov. 14.

Two Northeast-based shippers, Miracle Runner and Kuanyan, should contest the early pace and may prove the ones to beat. Miracle Runner, who began her career at Calder before going to Delaware for the summer, has won 5 of her last 6 starts but will get tested for class. She makes her stakes debut off an easy second-level allowance win on Nov. 6.

Like D'Wildcat Speed, Kuanyan raced twice last winter at Gulfstream, albeit against much easier competition. Outrun in her only two previous stakes appearances, Kuanyan comes into her local debut off a second-place finish in a third-level optional claiming race at The Meadowlands.

* Thursday's third race is a money allowance but has a stakes-caliber field topped by Gold Dollar, Just Say the Word, and the speedy Heart of Jules.

Gold Dollar won a pair of overnight sprint stakes here earlier this season. Fifth and sixth at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Alfred G. Vanderbilt and Grade 1 Forego, he has since returned to finish second in the Miami Mile Breeders' Cup and third in the Spend a Buck Handicap, both Grade 3 races around two turns.