11/27/2007 12:00AM

Go Between, Host head strong Tropical Turf

EmailMIAMI - The local turf course got some much-needed rest this past weekend due to some wet weather that moved through the area early Saturday morning. And while the break wiped out a pretty good race in Sunday's Pass the Line Stakes, it also gave the grass a chance to rest and recuperate for the onslaught that lies ahead during the final month of the meet, beginning with Saturday's $100,000 My Charmer and Tropical Park Turf handicaps.

The My Charmer and Tropical Turf are part of Calder's Grand Slam I card. Unfortunately, the afternoon's other two stakes, both for 2-year-olds, the $100,000 What a Pleasure and Three Ring, failed to generate much interest. Only five colts and geldings were entered for the What a Pleasure and six fillies were entered for the Three Ring when the 12-race Grand Slam program was drawn Monday.

The My Charmer lured a field of 11 fillies and mares led by trainer Todd Pletcher's J'ray who will carry high weight of 120 pounds. The field also includes northern invaders La Dolce Vita (117), Redaspen (116), Bayou's Lassie (116), Fantastic Shirl (116), and Beautiful Daniele (115). The local contingent is led by the vastly improved pair of Cozzi Capital (114) and Annabill (116).

The Tropical Turf came up an even better race, with 15 horses entered, but only 12 can start.

Topping the lineup for the Grade 3 Tropical Turf is the Grade 2 winner Go Between, the 122-pound highweight, and Host, who comes to town off a fifth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Mile. Trained by Bill Mott, Go Between brings a two-race winning streak into the Tropical Turf, including a recent neck triumph in Keeneland's Grade 3 Fayette Stakes. Go Between returns to south Florida for the first time since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Breeders' Cup in February.

Host (118) rallied from last over a soggy course to finish less than three lengths behind Kip Deville in the Mile. He has switched barns since the Breeders' Cup and will be saddled for the first time by Tom Albertrani in the Tropical Turf.

Defending champion Ballast (115) returns to Calder seeking his first victory since capturing the 2006 Tropical Park Turf by 1 1/4 lengths over Bob's Proud Moment.

Other notable Northern invaders include Fishy Advice (118), Giant Wrecker (117), Presious Passion (117), Minister's Joy (116), and Baron Von Tap (115). The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained pair of Magic Mecke (116) and Touched by Madness (116) are the lone local hopes.

Indy's Alexandra will put her unblemished record on the line against the stakes-experienced quartet of Calico Bay, Silk Ridge, Awesome Dream, and Paint Me Red in the 1 1/16-mile Three Ring.

Dynhocracy is the lone stakes winner in the What a Pleasure.

Smooth Air cruises in allowance

Smooth Air will likely be heading back to stakes competition following his convincing victory in Monday's co-feature. The 2-year-old son of Smooth Jazz drew off to an easy entry-level allowance victory going seven furlongs for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr. The performance came on the heels of his big second-place finish in the Jack Price Juvenile 16 days earlier.

Smooth Air, who has yet to finish worse than third in four starts, is a homebred owned by the Mount Joy Stables and was guided to victory by regular rider Manoel Cruz.

Trujillo escapes serious injury

Jockey Elvis Trujillo, who won the Calder riding title and is second in the standings during the Tropical meeting behind Cruz, escaped serious injury after his horse Heavenly Beauty broke down suddenly on the turn during the running of Sunday's eighth race. Trujillo, who was taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays, took off his mounts Monday but was expected to return to action Thursday.

Castro picks up winning ride

Eddie Castro, who owns the Calder single season win mark of 218 victories during the 2005 meeting, was in town Monday and wound up picking up a winning mount from Trujillo: Kaufman in the fifth race. Kaufman drew in off the also-eligible list when the race was taken off the grass, and he registered a popular victory under Castro for trainer Tim Hills.

Castro is named on horses in three of the four stakes on Saturday's Grand Slam I card, including Host for Albertrani in the Tropical Turf.

Gulas returns from spill to win

Jockey Laurie Gulas got the perseverance award here last weekend after returning from a nasty looking spill earlier in the day to win Saturday's finale aboard Mount Nebo. Gulas was on Symphonic Command when the 3-year-old gelding appeared to clip heels and fell in the vicinity of the quarter pole during the fifth race. Fortunately, she was able to walk away from the incident and return several hours later to guide longshot Mount Nebo to a wire-to-wire maiden win for trainer Andrew Williams.

The victory was only the second this season from limited opportunities for Gulas, a journeyman who began riding in 1992 and has won 359 races during her career, including two graded stakes.