11/29/2001 12:00AM

Finality latest Pletcher threat

Email

MIAMI - Trainer Todd Pletcher has been on fire in New York over the past couple of weeks. On Saturday he figures to keep his hot streak alive in south Florida when he sends out Finality against 11 other 2-year-olds in Calder's $100,000 Mecke Stakes, which shares top billing with its filly counterpart the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes on the 14-race program.

Last Saturday at Aqueduct, Pletcher sent out Left Bank and Graeme Hall to finish one-two in the Cigar Mile, Smok'n Frolic to win the Demoiselle Stakes, and Nokoma to run second in the Remsen.

Finality, who like Smok'n Frolic flies the colors of the Dogwood Stable, will be favored to win the 1 1/16-mile Mecke, coming off a game second-place finish behind Miesque's Approval in Aqueduct's nine-furlong Pilgrim Stakes earlier this month. The quality of that performance was emphasized when Miesque's Approval was just beaten on the wire in Hollywood Park's Grade 3 Generous Stakes this past weekend.

"Finality ran a big race in the Pilgrim," said Pletcher by phone from New York on Thursday. "He disputed all the pace and really dug in gamely when the winner came to him. And naturally it was nice to see Miesque's Approval come back and run so well in California."

Finality, a New York-bred son of Dehere, has started just twice on turf, winning his grass debut

over statebred competition by 5 1/2 widening lengths.

"I think he really has the makings of a nice grass horse," said Pletcher. "Being this race is at 1 1/16 miles and he just ran 1 1/8 miles probably means the pace will be a little quicker, but he's tractable and shouldn't have to be on the lead to win. I think he's able to sit close and make one run. And coming off a longer race could give him a little edge on fitness over the others."

Eibar Coa, who was aboard Finality on graduation day, will handle him again in the Mecke.

Finality will face a strong and promising group of juveniles that includes the first three finishers in The Meadowlands's World Appeal Stakes on turf, Emergency Status, Ricky N Chip, and Deeliteful Guy, as well as the first three across the line here three weeks ago in the Fabulous Frolic Stakes, Mountain Forum, Breakfast in Maui, and Out of Nickles.

Fillies in Hollywood Wildcat

Stakes winners August Storm and Lush Soldier and the once beaten Lujien Lujien top a competitive field of 11 fillies entered for the Hollywood Wildcat.

August Storm remained undefeated on the turf when she rallied to an easy three-length victory in the Lulu's Ransom Stakes here on Nov. 10. A daughter of Storm Creek, she won the five-furlong Prom Stakes at The Meadowlands in her grass debut.

Lush Soldier captured the Group 3 Natalma Stakes going a mile at Woodbine in September, and most recently finished a strong second to Stylistick in Keeneland's Green River Stakes.

Lujien Lujien was an easy winner of her first two starts on turf before finally tasting defeat, getting upset by Riskaverse in Aqueduct's Miss Grillo Stakes in her most recent start.

Kathy K D, Barrister Kathleen, and Piano Chimes, who all chased Lujien Lujien home in the Miss Grillo, will take her on again in the Hollywood Wildcat. The only locally based runner in the lineup is Social Place, runner-up behind August Storm in the Lulu's Ransom, her grass debut.