11/23/2001 12:00AM

Snowbirds flock to turf stakes


MIAMI - The first major stakes races of the Tropical at Calder meet will be run next weekend, the Mecke and its filly counterpart, the Hollywood Wildcat. Both races are for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf and have drawn 30 and 32 nominations, a large majority from Northern-based outfits who have already arrived on the scene for the winter campaign.

The Mecke, which also serves as a final major prep for the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby on New Year's Day, has drawn a trio of nominees from trainer Todd Pletcher's barn, including Finality, who was beaten a neck by Miesque's Approval in Aqueduct's Pilgrim Stakes on Nov. 6. Pletcher also has Hunter Cruise, a late-running fourth in the Pilgrim, and Southern Fleet eligible for the race.

Trainers Christophe Clement, Ken McPeek, Bill Perry, and Dennis Ebert are among the other Northern-based horsemen to have nominated horses to the Mecke.

The local contingent will be led by Mountain Forum and Breakfast in Maui, both of whom turned in smashing grass debuts when finishing necks apart in that order in the Fabulous Frolic Stakes on Nov. 10.

Pletcher also has a pair, Whitewashed and Smok'n Frolic, nominated to the Hollywood Wildcat. Whitewashed finished third behind August Storm in the Lulu's Ransom Stakes here on Nov. 10 and August Storm is expected back for the Hollywood Wildcat. Smok' n Frolic has never started on turf or run since registering an easy six-length victory in Belmont's Grade 3 Tempted Stakes on Oct. 28.

The filly to beat in the Hollywood Wildcat if she shows up may be Another Storm. A daughter of Gone West out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Storm Song, Another Storm cost $1 million at auction and ran to her breeding when she drew off to an easy three-length victory at first asking over the Saratoga turf course in mid-August. She has been training in Florida this month at Payson Park.

Bond also has two-time grass winner Lujien Lujien nominated to the Hollywood Wildcat.

Top riders appear for Grand Slam

Jockeys Jerry Bailey, Pat Day, and Jorge Chavez have all committed to accepting mounts here on Dec. 8, the first of two Grand Slam Days to be offered during the month of December.

The outstanding program offers four stakes worth $100,000 apiece, including the Grade 3 My Charmer and Tropical Turf handicaps. The What a Pleasure Stakes for 2-year-olds and Three Ring Stakes for juvenile fillies complete the quartet of stakes races on the agenda. Nominations to all four races close on Saturday.

* Showmeitall, who set a blistering pace before tiring badly making his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs earlier this month, returned home to register an impressive victory over the stakes-placed The Judge Sez Who and promising Gold Phantom in Friday's seventh race feature, run at 6 1/2 furlongs under second level allowance conditions.