12/04/2004 12:00AM

Pletcher's Grand Slam double

Skip Smith
Something Ventured and John Velazquez win the My Charmer Handicap on Saturday at Calder for red-hot trainer Todd Pletcher.

MIAMI - Todd Pletcher added a couple of more notches to his belt in his quest for the 2004 trainers' money-winning title and an Eclipse Award, sending out Host and Something Ventured to win the handicaps on Saturday's Grand Slam I program at Calder.

Host ($5.40) wore down co-favorite Silver Tree in the final strides for a neck victory in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf. The victory was the second straight graded stakes win for the Chilean-bred Host, who is owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk.

Something Ventured rallied from a dozen lengths off an extremely fast pace set by 8-5 favorite Changing World, and was also up in late stretch to register a one-length victory over Snowdrops in the Grade 3 My Charmer. Both Pletcher horses were ridden by John Velazquez.

Host settled in mid-pack for the opening six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf. A 4-year-old son of Hussonet, Host rallied outside rivals around the second turn, lugged in from right-hand pressure while continuing his bid at midstretch, and overtook Silver Tree nearing the wire.

Silver Tree settled in perfect position off the early leaders, ran down the pacesetting Keep Cool to move clear at midstretch, but could not last.

"He's still learning and we're still learning about him," said Pletcher of Host. "He was rank when we first got him and now he tends to be a little idle after he settles but one thing for certain is that he has a very explosive kick when he puts it all together."

Host will stay on the turf for the time being, Pletcher said. His next start could come in Gulfstream Park's Appleton Handicap on Feb. 12.

Something Ventured won the My Charmer with a little help from Changing World, who set a ridiculously fast pace of 1:09.94 for six furlongs and 1:34.38 for the mile while opening up a long lead. The torrid pace took its toll, as Changing World began to shorten stride once settling into the stretch. Something Ventured, placed in good early position by Velazquez after breaking from post position 12, commenced her rally on the second turn and ran past the tiring leader to win going away.

Something Ventured, who finished second behind New Economy in the 2003 My Charmer and was winless in nine previous starts this season, paid $14.20. Her time of 1:46.79 was just one-fifth of a second off the stakes record set by Danish in 1995.

"I didn't know if that other filly would come back but you can't control that," said Pletcher, who trains Something Ventured for the partnership of Irvin Wiemer and John Mclane. "She's always run well at Calder and has been knocking on the door all year."