11/30/2002 12:00AM

Millennium Storm scores upset


MIAMI - Millennium Storm showed he is as game as he is versatile by withstanding numerous challenges on the lead en route to a hard-fought head victory over his uncoupled stablemate Our Finale in the $100,000 Mecke Stakes for 2-year-olds on Saturday at Calder.

The Mecke order of finish mirrored that of a first-level dirt allowance race here two weeks ago, when Millennium Storm relinquished an early lead but reasserted himself and drew off to a 2 3/4-length decision over Our Finale.

On Saturday, Millennium Storm broke alertly from his inside post and was taken right to the front by jockey Rene Douglas. Millennium Storm was engaged by Kick In, Pyrite Search, and the wide-running Sea Pleasure around the second turn, fought off those challenges through midstretch, then was fully extended to withstand the final surge of Our Finale. Kick In succumbed grudgingly in deep stretch to be third, while Super Frolic, the 2-1 favorite, finished sixth after being forced to steady several times.

Millennium Storm returned $38.20 and ran the 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:42.43 seconds.

"I was following Millennium Storm since he was easy to find on the lead and didn't realize until the field was pulling up that my other horse was second," said Bill White, who trains the first two finishers. "The way he fought back last time to win on the dirt led me to believe he was on the top of his game right now, and I knew we'd find out today if turf was his game.

"I really feel bad for the owners of Our Finale," White added. "This is the second time in a row their horse ran a winning race and finished second."

White said Millennium Storm and Our Finale could meet again in the Tropical Park Derby at 1 1/8 miles on turf on New Year's Day.

Garcia filly wins Hollywood Wildcat

Sweettrickydancer gave trainer Rudolfo Garcia his first stakes winner in this country by outfinishing Askforaraise in the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes, the filly counterpart to the Mecke.

Sweettrickydancer has flourished since trainer Garcia, a native of Venezuela, switched her to turf early last month. A daughter of Green Dancer, Sweettrickydancer has now scored three consecutive wins on grass.

On Saturday, she rallied four wide into the stretch and then ran down Askforaraise in the final 40 yards of the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Wildcat to win by one length. Askforaraise, racing on just five days rest, rallied from just off a rapid pace to edge clear in early stretch, but drifted late and could not withstand the charge of the winner.

Running Debate finished full of run to be third, followed by Midwest invader U K Trick. Crimson and Roses, the tepid 7-2 favorite, set a rapid pace but had little left once settling into the stretch and finished 10th in the field of 12 juvenile fillies.

Sweettrickydancer returned $10.60 and ran the distance in 1:42.73 under jockey Eibar Coa.

"This is very exciting," said Garcia, who trains Sweettrickydancer for owner-breeder Eduardo Carlos Rojas Sr. "I probably wasted a couple of races running her on dirt. If she's all right she'd probably come back in the Tropical Park Oaks [Jan. 1]."