06/26/2003 11:00PM

Last call till the fall


MIAMI - For several of the more precocious of the locally based 2-year-olds, next Saturday's $100,000 Criterium Stakes at Calder will be their final opportunity to compete here for big money until the fall. The 5 1/2-furlong Criterium is the only event on the stakes schedule until the Foolish Pleasure on Sept. 20, other than the Stallion Series, which is restricted to the foals of registered Florida-based stallions who have been kept eligible through a series of payments over the past two years.

My Friend Bruce, an impressive debut winner earlier this month, is one member of the division who will not participate in the Stallion series. A Kentucky-bred son of Dance Brightly, My Friend Bruce sped to an easy 6 1/2-length victory launching his career under a $50,000 claiming tag on June 14. His 77 Beyer Speed Figure is tops of all the potential candidates for the Criterium, one point better than the 76 earned by Sir Oscar for his equally impressive 8 3/4-length debut win on May 26.

Unlike My Friend Bruce, Sir Oscar is Stallion Stakes eligible. A son of Halo's Image, Sir Oscar is trained by Manny Azpurua, who also has the promising juvenile filly Prohibido Olividar in his barn.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. nominated a pair of undefeated colts for the Criterium, Charming Jim and Song of Victory. Jim Hatchett, who won the race a year ago with Hear No Evil, can select from the pair of Proud Lion or Bourbon N Blues.

Mr. Livingston returns to turf

Mr. Livingston, whose main track experiment may be over following a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Memorial Day Handicap, should be favored when he returns to the grass for the $100,000 Americana Handicap on Friday. Love The Game and Dr. Kashnikow are among the other 15 nominees for the race.

Dancing Guy, who won the 2002 Americana which was taken off the turf, will have an opportunity to defend that title if similar conditions prevail again next Monday.

Happy birthday Harold Rose

Harold Rose, a member of the Calder Hall of Fame and one of the more beloved members of the local training colony, will celebrate his 92nd birthday along with 26 members of his immediate family in the clubhouse dining room here Sunday.

Rose, who has campaigned such outstanding horses as Hal's Hope, Rexson's Hope, and Mia's Hope, continues to visit his barn on a regular basis despite having had a leg amputated last year. His son, Barry, oversees the day-to-day activity at the Rose stable.

Hal's Hope brought Rose national attention after winning the 2000 Florida Derby and again when he ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness later that spring. He also won the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap in 2002.

Fillies prep for Azalea

Silver Lace and Will I Do, two of the more promising members of the strong 3-year-old filly division, will have one final opportunity to earn themselves a spot in the $300,000 Azalea Stakes on July 12 when they meet under first-level allowance conditions in Sunday's seventh race.

Silver Lace was an easy winner of her debut before finishing third, beaten a neck by Crafty Brat, following a slow start and wide trip in the Race Artist Stakes.

Will I Do was a sensational 21-length winner in her career debut under a $25,000 claiming tag on June 2.