03/29/2002 12:00AM

Lord Juban likely to sit a good trip


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If the starting lineup for Sunday's $75,000 Caltech Handicap looks familiar, it should. Three of the seven entrants, including likely favorites Lord Juban and Worldly Victor, scratched from Friday's Gravelines Stakes.

The Gravelines, like the Caltech, was carded for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, but unlike the Caltech it was restricted to Florida-breds and run under allowance, not handicap, conditions.

Lord Juban will carry high weight of 120 pounds in the Caltech, one more than Worldly Victor. The remainder of the field is Fuzzy Star, Kiss With Caution, Ricky N Chip, and the entry of Mystic Salse and Sir Azzaro.

Lord Juban has shown steady improvement for trainer Tim Ritvo since switching to the turf and returning to south Florida last fall. He finished third, beaten nearly three lengths by Worldly Victor, in the Dave Feldman Stakes in his 3-year-old debut before reversing that result when second behind the favored Orchard Park in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes five weeks later.

"I scratched out of the Gravelines on Friday to duck Orchard Park, even though it means running for a little less money and carrying a little more weight," said Ritvo, who trains Lord Juban for the Jon Stable and Gordon Racing Corp. "My colt is a big strapping horse, so a few extra pounds shouldn't make a difference. He's really improving, and I expect a big race out of him on Sunday."

Lord Juban figures to sit a good trip in the Caltech, just off the likely pace of Fuzzy Star and Kiss With Caution.

"There's some speed in there and my horse should be able to stalk the leaders," said Ritvo, who is having a big meet, with 11 winners through Thursday.

Worldly Victor rallied to a 1 1/2- length victory while equipped with blinkers for the first time in the Dave Feldman. He dropped near the rear of the pack after encountering traffic problems in the Palm Beach and finished sixth, beaten six lengths by Orchard Park and four by Lord Juban.

Kiss With Caution also scratched out of the Gravelines and enters the Caltech off a popular four-length entry-level allowance victory in a race moved from the turf to the main track on March 8.

Fuzzy Star finished a game third, beaten a half-length by stakes winner Changeintheweather, making his 3-year-old debut under second-level allowance conditions on the main track earlier this month, and could be the sleeper in the Caltech if he handles the surface in his turf debut.