11/15/2002 1:00AM

Mott attacking entry box early


MIAMI - Bill Mott has won more than his share of training titles in south Florida, where he's dominated the standings at Gulfstream Park for much of the last decade. But Mott has never won a championship at Calder, where the titles are usually decided long before the Hall of Fame horseman hits town with the majority of his stable during the late fall.

This season could be different, however, as Mott has made an earlier-than-usual assault on the Tropical at Calder meeting. Entering Friday's program, Mott was only two victories off the top spot - held jointly by Bill White and Angel Salinas - and had several big chances to add to his win total on Saturday's Florida Million Day card.

Mott is one of a number of New York and Midwest horsemen who have attacked the entry box a bit earlier than expected this season. Christophe Clement, Todd Pletcher, Harvey Vanier, and Norman Pointer are among the others who have already started horses at the meet. Scott Lake, the nation's winningest trainer in 2002, was to run likely favorite My Cousin Matt in Saturday's Jack Dudley Handicap, while Nick Zito sends out his first two starters at the meet, the entry of Ruby Falls and Showdown, in Sunday's sixth race.

Rule Brittania regroups

Rule Brittania, generally regarded to be among the top young fillies on the grounds before she was sidetracked by a bleeding problem early in her 3-year-old campaign, tops a field of 10 older fillies and mares entered in Sunday's $40,000 Subtle Dancer Handicap.

Rule Brittania won three of her first four career starts, by an average margin of more than five lengths, before going to the sidelines after easily defeating second-level allowance company at Gulfstream Park in February 2001. She did not return to action until last month, when she finished third, despite racing wide throughout, in the U Can Do It Handicap on Oct. 5.

Now trained by Gary Cortolillo, Rule Brittania is part of a field that includes veteran local distaff handicap performer Sugar N Spice, Crimson Native, Fly Me Crazy, and Midwest invader Dif a Dot.

Fly Me Crazy finished one length in front of Rule Brittania in the U Can Do It after chasing the winner, Chispiski, for most of the trip. Fly Me Crazy won the Vivace Stakes here earlier this season.

Velasquez boosts lead with three winners Friday

Cornelio Velasquez, who once again will be aboard Fly Me Crazy in the Subtle Dancer, rang up another hat trick on Friday to increase his lead over M.R. Cruz in quest of his third consecutive Tropical at Calder riding championship. Eibar Coa, who won three consecutive Tropical titles of his own from 1996 through 1998, is third in the standings.

Both Velasquez and Cruz rode four-baggers last weekend. Velasquez won four races Nov. 9, and Cruz duplicated the feat two days later.