04/27/2006 12:00AM

Life gets easier for a couple of Florida Derby also-rans


Saint Augustus and Rehoboth were overmatched in the Grade 1 Florida Derby but have found a suitable spot to rebound in Saturday's $100,000 Unbridled Stakes at Calder.

Saint Augustus and Rehoboth finished ninth and 11th in the Florida Derby behind the undefeated Kentucky Derby contender Barbaro. Neither was a factor in the race after encountering trouble around the clubhouse turn.

"He might have had some trouble, but basically he had no excuse other than being overmatched in the Florida Derby," said Todd Pletcher, who trains Saint Augustus. "But this race will be a significant class drop for him. He should run well in there, and hopefully the race will get him back on track."

Saint Augustus earned a spot in the Florida Derby after registering a 3 1/2-length second-level allowance victory over Doc Cheney at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 26. A son of Saint Ballado, Saint Augustus registered his most important win at Calder in his 2-year-old finale, when he rallied to a 2 1/2-length win in the What a Pleasure Stakes.

"He's already shown us he likes the track and that he's a very nice horse who is not quite ready for the top level, but if managed the right way can be very productive," said Pletcher.

Chris DeCarlo, who rode Saint Augustus to his maiden win last fall in New Jersey, will ride again from post 1 under co-high weight of 122 pounds.

Rehoboth also won a second-level allowance race this winter at Gulfstream and punched his ticket to the Florida Derby when he finished a troubled fifth behind Corinthian in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. Rehoboth was beaten 5 1/4 lengths by Saint Augustus when he finished third in the 2005 What a Pleasure.

While Saint Augustus and Rehoboth figure to receive the bulk of the attention in the Unbridled, the race is anything but a two-horse affair. The field also includes Bushmills Best, a winner of his last three starts, including the OBS Championship at Ocala; Winnies Tigger Too, third behind Deputy Glitters and Bluegrass Cat in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby; and two-time stakes winner Electrify.

My Lordship seeks fourth straight

Also on the card, My Lordship will likely be favored to beat nine other fillies and mares in the $150,000 Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on turf. My Lordship has captured her last three starts, a streak that began at Calder last fall with a head victory in the Connie Ann Stakes. She opened her 2006 campaign with back-to-back one-length wins in the Marshua's River at Gulfstream and the Endeavour Breeders' Cup Handicap at Tampa.

Bright Abundance could provide My Lordship with her main competition, despite making her first start since finishing 10th and last in the Grade 2 Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita on Nov. 5. Trained by Christophe Clement, Bright Abundance has won two stakes since arriving in the U.S. in May 2005, including the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Handicap at Belmont in September.

Go Robin goes for her third straight win in the Hollywood Wildcat. The field also includes the entry of Shin Feign and R Lady Joy, Pattiano, Potra Clasica, Formal Miss, Ragtime Hope, and Mocita.

Several contenders in Ponche 'Cap

Nightmare Affair, Universal Form, and Park Avenue Ball share high weight of 117 pounds in the $100,000 Ponche Handicap, a six-furlong dash that drew an evenly matched field of seven.

Nightmare Affair exits a 3 1/2-length victory in Tampa's Sprint Stakes, his first win in six starts this year. The stretch-running gray won four stakes last year and finished third in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap.

Universal Form rallied from the rear of the pack to post a one-length victory at odds of 53-1 in the Grade 3 Deputy Minister Handicap in February, when he made his 2006 debut. He then proved the effort wasn't a fluke by returning to finish third in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Breeders' Cup Handicap four weeks later.

Park Avenue Ball won the Grade 3 Long Branch last July, and finished third in the Grade 1 Haskell and second in the Grade 3 Withers. He has not started since early October but has trained forwardly at Palm Meadows for trainer James Ryerson.

Lucky Frolic appears outclassed on paper but could steal the race as the dominant speed in the field.

Miracle Man returned from a seven-month vacation to win a third-level allowance dash at Gulfstream and was stakes-placed on three occasions last season.