12/31/2001 12:00AM

Grand Slam II card a solid hit


MIAMI - Good show.

By attracting full fields and quality horses for its Grand Slam presentation Saturday, Calder had its most successful afternoon ever, with record combined wagering totaling almost $9.5 million. A well-above-average weekend crowd of more than 12,000 enjoyed a fine program of racing, and while form was on holiday, the entertainment level was high. Management put together a superior show and then sold it to the community with textbook effectiveness.

The surprise nature of the proceedings was characterized by the victory of the 18-1 Profit Option in the $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap on the turf at 1 1/2 miles. Profit Option hadn't won since last January but put together an earnest effort in the McKnight, finishing strongly for Mark Guidry to score by a half-length over stakes-winning Deeliteful Irving.

Veteran horseman Ken Hoffman, who makes his headquarters in Ocala, Fla., bought Profit Option privately two years ago from the Live Oak Plantation of Charlotte Weber and sold one-third interests to engineer Mark Conway and entrepreneur Tony Canonie Jr. The 6-year-old Profit Option, by two-time Arc de Triomphe winner Alleged, is very difficult at times but has more than paid his way, earning some $400,000 since being acquired by Hoffman. The two favorites, Honor Glide and Mr. Pleasentfar, failed to get positions and were never factors, though the early pace was tepid, the first half-mile in 51.69 seconds and the six furlongs in 1:16.59.

Another highlight - and another surprise - was the victory of the 8-1 Krisada in the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap for fillies and mares on the turf at 1 1/2 miles. Krisada, a 6-year-old mare by Kris S., came on strongly through the stretch under Pat Day to get the money. She won by a desperate length over the well-regarded Sweetest Thing, and these two are likely to meet again at Gulfstream on Feb. 17 in The Very One Handicap.

"The Very One is probably going to be her last start," trainer Shug McGaughey advised about Krisada. "She is going home and will be bred to Rahy. The La Prevoyante was the first stakes victory of her career, and I'm delighted she won because she deserves it."

Kiss a Native, winner of more than $900,000, stood a long drive gamely to capture the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes Saturday by a length. The runner-up, in a good effort, was Hal's Hope, winner of the Florida Derby in 2000.

Kiss a Native was second choice in the Hooper but Vague Memory was 10-1 when she led all the way to win the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap on the Grand Slam II card. Gold Mover, the favorite, was a persistent challenger but couldn't quite get to Vague Memory. This was a dandy horse race on an afternoon full of good racing. It was a grand slam.