12/08/2006 1:00AM

Meditations a bright spot for Ziadie


MIAMI - Ralph Ziadie has won six training titles and has been a mainstay near the top of the standings at Calder for as long as one can remember. He has tutored the careers of some of the best horses to stable year-round in south Florida, including Grade 1 winners Sir Bear and Silver Wagon, and was elected into the Calder Hall of Fame in 2001.

But Ziadie has endured a lean year in 2006, with his victory totals down and the barn void of a true star for most of the season. That changed last weekend, however, when the exciting 2-year-old filly prospect Meditations gave Ziadie something to look forward to in 2007. Coming off a 10 3/4-length maiden victory Oct. 7, Meditations returned from an eight-week layoff and turned in the most impressive performance on last Saturday's Grand Slam I program, a 10 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Three Ring Stakes.

Owned by Lucy Bassett, Meditations earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure in the Three Ring as well as a spot among the leaders of the local 2-year-old filly division.

Ziadie was a bit tentative about Meditation's chances in the days leading up to the Three Ring. He did not doubt her ability, but was worried that a lack of a prep and some missed training time could put her at a disadvantage in her stakes debut and two-turn debut against a field that included multiple stakes winner Adhrhythm.

"She was coughing following her maiden win, and I had to back off her for a week," said Ziadie. "Then there was an allowance race at a mile in the book I had planned to use as a prep for the Three Ring, but it didn't fill. I had to train her straight into the race while trying to stretch her out from 5 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles. And then her regular rider got hurt to boot. She always gave me the impression she'd go two turns, and I thought she was fit enough, but you always have that little bit of doubt in your head until they actually go out and do it."

Ziadie said he has not chosen Meditations's next race, but confirmed that she is done for this year.

"We'll pick something out at Gulfstream and eventually point her for the Bonnie Miss later in the meet," said Ziadie. "Mrs. Bassett has received numerous calls inquiring about selling the filly but she is definitely not interested."

Ziadie is 31 for 223 this year (13 percent) for earnings of $552,863, nearly half the amount he won last year. He said he is carrying only about half the usual 40-horse stable he has regularly maintained at Calder for many years. Part of that deficit came about when Buckram Oak transferred several horses that had been trained by Ziadie to other barns earlier in the season.

"It's been a quiet year, that's for sure," said Ziadie. "Losing Buckram Oak was a surprise, and it really hurt my business. I had a lot of success for them over the past several years, including winning a Grade 1 race with Silver Wagon. Mrs. Bassett has given me horses in the past, and I'm thankful for the opportunity to have a horse like Meditations. And naturally I'm always looking and hoping to pick up some new clients."

Wolfson has top pair in Sonic Gray

Potra Clasica and her stablemate Mocita head a field of eight older fillies and mares entered for Sunday's 1 1/16-mile Sonic Gray Stakes, an overnight event that carries a $45,000 purse.

Potra Clasica is a versatile mare who may be at her best on grass. Mocita is a two-time stakes winner this season, but is coming off a poor performance in the Shocker T Handicap. Both horses are trained by Marty Wolfson.

Trainer Michael Matz has entered three horses for the Sonic Gray: Miss Belga Bound and the 3-year-olds Nancy Creek and Cindy's Mom. Running Lass, For Gillian, and American Miss complete the lineup.

* Jockey Sally Mitchelhill, a 23-year-old native of Edinburgh, Scotland, needed only two tries to pick up the first victory of her riding career, guiding A Bit of Attitude to a gate-to-wire, 2 1/4-length triumph for trainer Ronald Voss III in Monday's sixth race.

Mitchelhill, who has served as an exercise rider for trainer Kirk Ziadie for the past several years, plans to ride this winter at Tampa Bay Downs.