11/29/2007 12:00AM

Fresh out of BC Mile, Host in tough

EmailMIAMI - Host began his 2007 campaign in a Grade 3 race in south Florida and will end it the same way when he goes off among the favorites in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap. The 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf is the headliner on the first of three Grand Slam programs at Calder in December, each consisting of four stakes valued at $100,000 or more.

Also on Saturday's card are three other $100,000 stakes: the Grade 3 My Charmer, the Three Ring, and the What a Pleasure.

Host, 7, a Grade 1 winner in 2005, has had an eventful season in the 10 months between his second-place finish in the Canadian Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3 and the Tropical Turf. He journeyed to Dubai and ran 12th in the Dubai Sheema Classic, was graded stakes placed on a couple of occasions this summer in New York, went to Canada and ran a troubled fifth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, then gave perhaps his best performance when beaten less than three lengths on soggy turf in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Monmouth.

Host also became a millionaire in 2007 and has changed trainers since the Breeders' Cup, from Todd Pletcher to Tom Albertrani.

Host will carry 118 pounds Saturday, four fewer than topweight Go Between, who brings a two race win streak back to south Florida. A 4-year-old son of Point Given, Go Between has won three stakes this year, including the Grade 3 Fayette at Keeneland on Oct. 27. Trained by Bill Mott, Go Between was a Grade 2 winner last year at 3 and he finished fourth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup in February.

The strong Tropical Turf field also includes defending champion Ballast; Grade 3 winners Fishy Advice, Giant Wrecker, and Presious Passion; and locals Magic Mecke and Touched by Madness.

Ballast has not won since his upset score in the 2006 Tropical Turf, although he did finish a strong second in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch this summer at Saratoga.

Fishy Advice comes off the most important victory of his career, the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Handicap at Aqueduct over soft turf.

"He'll run over anything," said his trainer, Dave Donk. "I didn't think this race would come up quite this contentious, but he's run with those kind of horses before."

Presious Passion won Monmouth's Grade 3 Cliff Hanger in September, beating Touched by Madness by a length.