12/07/2007 12:00AM

Pair going at it again

EmailMIAMI - One of the better rivalries of the 2007 Calder season will be renewed one more time on Sunday when Fair Weather Stan and Fearless Eagle hook up once again in the $50,000 Mel's Hope Stakes, carded at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Fearless Eagle got the best of Fair Weather Stan when he upset the Lord Juban Stakes on June 23. But Fair Weather Stan has avenged that setback in each of the pair's three subsequent meetings, coming out on top with victories in both the Needles and Donthelumbertrader stakes, and also by finishing third in the Grade 3 Calder Derby.

The Needles turned out to be one of the most exciting races on the local stakes schedule, with Fair Weather Stan outgaming Fearless Eagle in the final strides to post a nose decision for the fifth win of his outstanding 3-year-old campaign. In the Calder Derby, Fair Weather Stan rallied from the rear of the pack to check home third, a head behind runner-up Imawildandcrazyguy and a half-length in front of Fearless Eagle, who faded to fourth after opening a two-length advantage near midstretch.

"They've certainly had some battles right down to the wire this year," said David Braddy, who trains Fair Weather Stan. "It would appear that Fearless Eagle is the horse to beat again on Sunday, although there are a couple of new faces in the race who could also be dangerous. I'm a little concerned that my horse didn't run too well in his last start. I really can't find any excuse for his performance in the Bonnie Heath."

Fair Weather Stan finished eighth behind Revved Up in the Bonnie Heath on Nov. 10.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. has freshened Fearless Eagle since his fourth-place finish in the Calder Derby. A 3-year-old son of Invisible Ink, he posted a bullet five-furlong drill in 1:01.40 over the main track on Nov. 28. Jose Lezcano, who guided Fearless Eagle to a fifth-place finish earlier this year in Monmouth's Park's Jersey Derby, will have the mount again Sunday.

Mysterious Peintre, transferred from Todd Pletcher's barn to trainer Marty Wolfson following his ninth-place finish in Aqueduct's Volponi Stakes on Nov. 7, and French Vintage are two of the new faces Braddy was referring to in the lineup.

The French-bred Mysterious Peintre is winless in four starts in the United States, although he did finish fourth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Grade 3 Saranac at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

French Vintage defeated Fearless Eagle by running third in the Jersey Derby and also checked home in front of Mysterious Peintre with a sixth-place finish in the Volponi. A son of Mecke, French Vintage won the Choice Stakes at Monmouth Park in July.

Memorial set for Navarro

Local horsemen have been mourning the recent passing of veteran trainer Eugene Navarro, who died on Nov. 27 at the age of 92.

Navarro, who was inducted into Calder's Oriental Park Hall of Fame in 1988, campaigned such top horses as Charon, winner of the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan, and the multiple graded-stakes winner Youmadeyourpoint.

A memorial service will be held in the Calder chapel at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 14.