09/02/2005 11:00PM

Southern Cal right at home in Miami Mile


MIAMI - The connections of Southern Cal have talked about the Breeders' Cup Mile at Belmont Park as a possible goal later this fall. But first they must get by Calder's $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap, which shares top billing on Monday's 14-race Labor Day card with the $100,000 Aspidistra Handicap for fillies and mares. Both races are scheduled for a mile on the turf.

Southern Cal has won 3 of his 4 starts going a mile on grass, including The Vid Stakes here on July 31, when he set rapid fractions and outlasted Bob's Proud Moment by three-quarters of a length. A homebred son of Halo's Image, Southern Cal also won the five-furlong Calder Turf Sprint Handicap on a yielding course three weeks earlier.

Bob's Proud Moment will take another run at Southern Cal in the Miami Mile, looking to bounce back from a fourth-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Absent Russian Stakes two weeks earlier. Bob's Proud Moment gets a favorable four-pound shift in weights from Southern Cal off their previous encounter and could get a little more help up front with invader Gin and Sin and stretch-out sprinter Mister Fotis in the lineup.

Gin and Sin, like Southern Cal, is a proven turf miler, having won 4 of 9 starts at the distance, including Mountain Park's Independence Day Stakes this summer. He also has the same gun-and-go running style as Southern Cal, although he is capable of winning from just off the pace as well.

The remainder of the field is Dancing Master, Nightmare Affair, Bachelor Blues, Go DirectlytoJail, Cervelo, Gin Rummy Champ, and Magic Speed. Nightmare Affair will likely run only if the race is moved off the turf.

The Aspidistra, postponed nine days earlier because of Hurricane Katrina, might be a better race if it comes off the grass, because then it would feature another meeting between D'Wildcat Speed and Pampered Princess, neither of whom has started on turf. They squared off on two previous occasions, D'Wildcat Speed coming out on top in both the 2004 Banshee Breeze Handicap and again this spring in the Grade 2 Rampart Handicap.

D'Wildcat Speed has not started since upsetting the odds-on Isola Piu Bella in the Rampart on March 26. Pampered Princess has been idle since being upset by American Miss as the 1-9 favorite in the Nancy's Glitter Handicap on July 16.

If the Aspidistra is run on grass as scheduled, R Obsession figures to be a slight favorite over You Glitter Girl, Silver Lace, Shady Woman, and Wekiva Mist.

R Obsession ran down You Glitter Girl to win the 7 1/2-furlong Ms Brookski Stakes by two lengths on July 3.

Silver Lace returns to the turf off a fifth-place finish on the main track in the six-furlong Barbs Dancer Stakes. She won a strong fourth-level optional-claiming race over the Gulfstream Park turf during the winter.