07/01/2001 11:00PM

Mr. Livingstone can control pace


MIAMI - Mr. Livingston, whose promising career was halted by foot problems at 3, looks well-spotted to get back on the winning track when he faces nine rivals in Wednesday's $50,000 Americana Handicap at Calder.

Mr. Livingston moved to the top of his division during the winter of 2000 after winning Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes before dropping a hard-fought neck decision to Tubrok in the Everglades Stakes. After finishing far back in the Flamingo three weeks later trainer Bill Kaplan decided to stop on the versatile colt, whom he trains for owners Teresa and David Palmer.

Mr. Livingston spent the tail end of his 3-year-old campaign on the Equus Oasis Farm to allow his bruised foot ample time to heal properly before returning to training here this spring. He launched his comeback in the Blazing Bart Handicap on June 3 but lost all chance right at the start when he broke into the air before finishing eighth in a field of 10.

"He's doing well," said Kaplan who won a pair of stakes last week with the two best fillies in his barn, Multiplicity and Castlebrook. "He's worked nicely since the Blazing Bart, and I expect him to run much better in the Americana."

Mr. Livingston, who has always done his best when on or near the pace, looks like the controlling speed in the 1 1/8-mile Americana if he breaks alertly from the inside post. Sebastian Madrid will be aboard for the first time on Wednesday.

Dance the Ballado and Dillonmyboy, third and fourth behind odds-on favorite Band Is Passing in the Blazing Bart, head the competition, which also includes Take Charge Megan, Devil Ray, Tahkodha Hills, Mandango, Special Coach, Gatobeanactor, and Dancing Guy.

Six of the 10 Americana starters, including Mr. Livingston, were co-highweighted at 114 pounds with only two pounds separating the entire field.

Tahkodha Hills, who has never raced on grass, would be the starting highweight under 117 pounds and the one to beat if the Americana is switched to the main track.

Tv Sports Director cruises

Tv Sports Director has probably earned himself another shot at stakes competition later in the meet after recording his second straight impressive allowance win on the grass for owner Ann Lagrosa and trainer Reed Combest in Monday's opener.

A son of Line in the Sand, Tv Sports Director has now won four of his last six starts on turf and is unbeaten and, for all intents and purposes, untested since adding blinkers for his previous outing. His only setbacks since early April were second- and third-place finishes in the Simply Majestic and Angelo Testa stakes.

Jose Rivera II was back aboard Tv Sports Director on Monday for Combest, who is in the midst of a very good meeting with four wins and five seconds from the first 15 horses he has sent out during the meet. Rivera, who has come on strong over the past several weeks after getting off to a slow start when the meet opened, came right back to complete the early daily double when guiding Tanga to a hard fought, wire to wire victory in the second race.