04/28/2007 12:00AM

Jet Propulsion quickest in Miami Mile


In a field loaded with speed, Jet Propulsion proved the fastest and ultimately best of the bunch after leading throughout to score a shockingly easy 1 1/2-length decision in the $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap at Calder Race Course. The Grade 3 Miami Mile was the last of four stakes on the card.

Jet Propulsion, who won an overnight stakes at Calder at 3, returned $52 after winning under jockey Eduardo Nunez. Giant Wrecker, who had been on the lead in each of his last three starts, rallied mildly to finish second. Paradise Dancer chased the pace and finished a tiring third.

Favorites Hotstufanthensome and Classic Campaign were never a factor.

Jet Propulsion completed an all-stakes pick four that returned $26,851.40 for a $2 ticket. The winning combination was 14-5-4-7.

"We claimed this horse two years ago for $25,000," said Donna Green, assistant to trainer Dan Hurtak. "He's not a good shipper, which was why he ran so poorly in his last start at Tampa. The key to him is how he does in the paddock, and he was perfect today and was able to relax in the race."

Earlier, La Dolce Vita finished strongly down the center of the course to register a mild upset in the $150,000 Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap. Javier Castellano rode the winner for trainer Mark Hennig. Castellano had registered the 2,000th win of his career when he guided Nombre De Dios to victory in the fourth race, also for Hennig.

La Dolce Vita ($10.80) outfinished defending champion Potra Clasica, who slipped along the rail to be second, a length back of the winner and a nose in front of the pacesetting longshot Silversider. Meribel, the favorite in a field of seven fillies and mares, split rivals with her belated rally but could do no better than fourth.

The win was the second in the last three starts for La Dolce Vita, a daughter of Quiet American, who won the City of Hollywood Stakes and finished third in the Grade 3 Orchid Handicap at Gulfstream Park in her previous two starts. Her final time of 1:40.76 for

1 1/16 miles was just .03 of a second off the stakes record set by Wend in 2005.

Hal's My Hope, who last month missed an opportunity to compete in the Grade 1 Florida Derby because of a minor illness, bounced back with a convincing 12-length victory in the $100,000 Unbridled Stakes.

Hal's My Hope ($12.60), a homebred son of Halo's Image owned by the Rose Family Stable, had finished fifth behind the Kentucky Derby-bound trio of Scat Daddy, Stormello, and Nobiz Like Shobiz in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth in his last start on March 3. Allowed to set a slow early pace, Hal's My Hope was aggressively ridden by jockey Jeffrey Sanchez around the second turn to pull away from co-favorite Yesbyjimminy, then steadily increased his advantage through the stretch under vigorous pressure. Rogers rallied belatedly to finish a distant second in a scratch-reduced field of only five 3-year-olds.

"His next two races will probably be the Grade 2 Ohio Derby [at Thistledown on June 2] and the Grade 3 West Virginia Derby [Mountaineer Park on Aug. 4]," said trainer Barry Rose.

Weigelia again confirmed his affinity for the Calder racing surface when he drew off to a convincing 3 1/2-length triumph in the $100,000 Ponche Handicap. The victory snapped a three-race losing streak for Weigelia dating back to his tally in the Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder on Dec. 16, and it was his eighth victory in 17 starts at Calder, where he also captured the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes in 2004.

Breaking from the extreme outside in post 12, Weigelia contested the early pace three wide, along with Winnies Tiger Too and Rexson's Rose. Under confident handling from jockey Eddie Castro, Weigelia gradually shook free after a half-mile, then easily pulled away from the field when finally roused in early stretch. Longshot Gower rallied belatedly to finish second, a nose in front of Finallymadeit. Mach Ride, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, made a mild run into the stretch but could not sustain the bid and finished fourth.

Weigelia, trained by Michael Trombetta for owner Joseph Balsamo, paid $9 after covering the distance in 1:11.09 over a fast track. Trombetta was at Aqueduct on Saturday where he saddled Street Magician in the Withers Stakes.