09/16/2006 12:00AM

Knight in Flight stretches out


MIAMI - Knight in Flight has won on the lead and won from behind. He's won on dirt and he's won on grass. The key question Monday is whether Knight in Flight can also win going 1 3/8 miles in the $45,000 Oliver Stakes on the turf at Calder.

Knight in Flight has never won beyond 1 1/16 miles or run farther than 1 1/8 miles. A versatile son of Family Calling, Knight in Flight rallied to a three-length victory going 1 1/16 miles here last summer and also led throughout to capture his third-level allowance condition by 4 1/4 lengths at the same distance June 19.

Trained by Marty Wolfson for owner Martin Cherry, Knight in Flight will be making his first start since finishing a troubled second in the one-mile The Vid Stakes on July 30. Regular rider Abel Castellano Jr. has again accepted the assignment.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. has himself a strong one-two punch in the Oliver, with Magic Mecke expected to run if the race stays on the turf and his long-winded stablemate A. J. Melini likely to start should the overnight stakes be switched to the main track. Plesa has named jockey Elvis Trujillo on both halves of his entry.

Magic Mecke has also been idle since The Vid, where he finished a late-running fifth following a poor start. In his only other outing this season, Magic Mecke rallied from last to capture the Mecke Handicap by 2 1/4 lengths. Magic Mecke has gone 1 3/8 miles one time, finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap during the winter of 2005.

A. J. Melini has captured three of his last five starts, all on dirt, including the 1 1/2-mile New York New York Handicap on June 10. He was also third going the same distance on turf in the Arthur L Stakes three weeks later.

Keep Cool is winless in eight starts while keeping a steady diet of stakes company this season and should take this field as far as he goes on the lead. A multiple stakes winner, Keep Cool is coming off one of the worst performances of his career, when he finished 27 lengths behind Rehoboth in the Carterista Handicap over the main track on Labor Day.

Completing the lineup for the Oliver are I'mroyallymecke'd, who was an easy 7 1/2-length winner in the slop in his last start, the stretch-running Texas Red, multiple stakes-placed Tiger Belle, and Hup Two.