11/08/2007 1:00AM

Revved Up goes for third straight Bonnie Heath

EmailMIAMI - The recent retirement of several of the sport's brightest stars should make racing fans have even greater appreciation for a horse like Revved Up, who at the age of 9 returns to south Florida on Saturday seeking his third consecutive victory in Calder's $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup.

Revved Up ran away from Silver Tree to win the 2005 Bonnie Heath by 2 1/2 lengths, and last year withstood a duel down nearly the entire stretch to defeat Magic Mecke in defense of that title. And while trainer Christophe Clement admits the old boy has probably lost a step or two since those victories, he still believes the gelding may be good enough to pull off the three-peat.

"He's not quite as good a horse now as he was in the past," said Clement, "which is to be expected considering his age. But he looks well, he's very sound, and he's very willing. If not I wouldn't run him."

Revved Up won 5 of 6 starts in 2006, capped off by the Bonnie Heath, but returns here Saturday with only a single victory in six tries this year. His lone tally came in a 1 5/8-mile overnight stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 19. In his most recent start, Revved Up finished sixth following a poor beginning in Woodbine's Grade 2 Sky Classic.

"I was really delighted he won that race at Saratoga," said Clement, who trains the homebred Revved Up for Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation. "I hope he runs better this time than in his last race, although he had an excuse that day when losing three or four lengths out of the gate."

Clement said the Bonnie Heath could possibly be the final start of Revved Up's career.

"We'll go race by race with him for now," said Clement. "If he runs well Saturday, maybe we'll go for one more."

Eibar Coa will be aboard Revved Up, who can push his career earnings above $1.5 million with a victory in the Bonnie Heath.

Magic Mecke will also compete in the Bonnie Heath for the third straight season. He finished fifth after joining the leaders turning for home in 2005 before being outfinished by Revved Up following that stirring stretch duel a year ago.

Magic Mecke is one of two key contenders from trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.'s barn in the 1 1/8-mile Bonnie Heath, along with Touched by Madness, who has finished second in each of his last three outings, including the Grade 3 Red Bank and Cliff Hanger stakes in New Jersey.

Jet Propulsion figures to again be loose on the lead, as in his easy victories earlier this season in the Grade 3 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup and Carterista handicaps, although he has failed to hit the board in his only two previous attempts to stay nine furlongs.

Soldier's Dancer will meet older horses for the first time in the Bonnie Heath. The stretch-running 3-year-old comes off arguably the best performance of his career, a six-length win in the Grade 3 Calder Derby, but must again avoid traffic trouble from his inside post.

While Revved Up is in the twilight of his brilliant career, several promising 2-year-olds just beginning theirs highlight the early portion of the 12-race Florida Million card.

The first of the afternoon's eight stakes, the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies, features the undefeated speedster High Resolve, who ships east from her home base at Golden Gate Fields to face six rivals, led by the multiple stakes winner Silk Ridge and Plesa's much-improved American Asset.

High Resolve won her first two starts by an average of eight lengths, and was never threatened in either race.

"She was geared down at the eighth pole in her last race," said trainer Greg Gilchrist. "She's really fast and easy to rate, but what kind of quality she's got and whether she'll go seven furlongs, I really don't know. I guess I should have a better idea after Saturday."

The $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile matches local division leader Wise Answer against the undefeated New York invader Smoke'n Coal.

Wise Answer has won his last three starts, all stakes, by an average margin of seven lengths and is seasoned at seven furlongs and beyond. Smoke'n Coal is perfect in two starts including an overnight stakes at Belmont Park but has yet to race farther than six furlongs.

Other undercard races on Saturday include the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap,the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf, and the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf.