04/27/2005 11:00PM

Heavy hitters make it tough in turf stakes


Trainer Bill Mott and jockey Jerry Bailey are usually long gone from south Florida by the first of May. But the two Hall of Famers will team at Calder on Saturday as the likely favorites in both the $150,000 Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap and the $75,000 Carterista Handicap, two of four stakes on the 12-race program that begins at 12:50 p.m.

In addition to riding in three of the four stakes on the card, Bailey will be available from 1 p.m.to 2:30 p.m. in front of the jockeys room for a book-signing session for his recently published autobiography, "Against the Odds: Riding for My Life."

There will also be a special pick-four wager on races nine through 12, encompassing the four stakes on the card.

Bailey will be aboard the red-hot filly Wend in the Hollywood Wildcat and the old veteran Miesque's Approval in the Carterista. Both races will be decided at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

has won all three starts since Mott switched her to the grass following a dull main-track debut in November. A daughter of Pulpit, Wend earned her diploma with a game two-length victory at Tampa Bay Downs on Jan. 2, then showed continued improvement with a pair of easy allowance wins under Bailey at Gulfstream Park. The 97 Beyer Speed Figure she earned in her last start, a 3 1/2-length allowance win on March 31, makes her far and away the one to beat despite her lack of stakes experience.

Like Mott, trainer Christophe Clement has usually packed up and headed north by this time, but Clement has hung around long enough this spring to send out Hymn of Love as the horse to beat in the Hollywood Wildcat.

, a listed stakes winner in Ireland in 2003, won a three-other-than allowance race over the Calder turf in December. A 5-year-old daughter of Barathea, Hymn of Love was given the winter off before returning with a much-needed sixth-place finish in a strong field of allowance rivals at Gulfstream on March 20.

, a multiple stakes winner here at 3, returned to allowance company to register his first victory of the year on March 20. She is among the other key contenders in the Hollywood Wildcat, along with Lentil, Minge Cove, Dansetta Light, and Tampa Bay Downs invader Joyful Ballad, who brings a three-race win streak into the race.

Miesque's Approval makes his first start in the Carterista since finishing a troubled fifth in Belmont's one-mile Elusive Quality Stakes on Oct. 6. The Live Oak Plantation homebred won just 1 of 9 starts in 2004 but consistently ran Beyers in the mid- to high 90's, and a similar effort would make him the one to beat. He has trained forwardly for his return at Payson Park.

The pace should be honest in the Carterista with Keep Cool, Smooth Lover, Much Respect, and perhaps Sovereign Honor all expected to vie for the early lead. Such a pace scenario should help Unbridels King, who won the Mecke Handicap over this course last summer and comes off a sharp allowance win for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. at Gulfstream.

Final Prophecy, upset winner of the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup in November; He's Crafty, a former Mott trainee; and the late-running Class of Seventy all could figure prominently if a pace duel develops.