12/01/2001 12:00AM

Speed rules in pair of turf stakes


MIAMI - Speed proved a valuable asset over the Calder turf course Saturday as Political Attack and August Storm led throughout to win the $100,000 Mecke Stakes and its filly counterpart, the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes.

Political Attack quickly sprinted to command under jockey Mark Guidry and was given an extra breather when the lone early challenger, Out of Nickles, broke down after the opening half-mile of the Mecke. Entering the stretch, Finality, the 2-1 favorite in a field of 12 juvenile colts and geldings, challenged the leader, but Political Attack had more than enough in reserve to withstand the bid and edge clear to a 1 1/4-length victory.

Political Attack, a homebred son of Hawk Attack and Cope's Light who is owned by Brereton Jones and trained by John Hennig, returned $22.60 He ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.22 over a firm course that has dried out and favored speed recently because of a lack of rain in the area. The win was the fourth on the day for Guidry, who moved his tack here from Kentucky earlier this week.

"In [Political Attack's] last race" - the Hopemont at Keeneland - "they called the course firm, but it was very soft and he got into a little speed duel," said Hennig. "I had planned to give him some time off to freshen him over the winter but after today's race I guess we'll leave the door open for the Tropical Park Derby [on Jan. 1]."

August Storm broke from the rail and was allowed to set a slow pace in the Hollywood Wildcat, cutting out fractions of 23.88 seconds, 49.41, and 1:13.62 for the opening six furlongs under jockey Jose Ferrer. A daughter of Storm Creek and Smellin Salty, August Storm had plenty left in the tank to withstand the closing bid of Kathy K D for a 1 1/2-length victory. Piano Chimes, a 90-1 shot, outfinished Lush Soldier by a nose to be third, while Lujien Lujien, the tepid 2-1 favorite in the field of 11 2-year-old fillies, lacked a closing bid and finished a non-threatening fifth.

The Hollywood Wildcat was the third victory in as many starts on the grass for August Storm, who captured The Meadowlands's Prom Stakes before shipping to Calder to easily win the Lulu's Ransom Stakes three weeks ago.

August Storm paid $6.40 after covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.13.

"Obviously, there wasn't a lot of speed in this field and everything worked out perfectly," said Samantha Randazzo, assistant to Linda Rice who trains August Storm for the August Morn Farm. "Jose has ridden a thousand races over this course and did a wonderful job working out the pace."

Randazzo said if all goes well August Storm will run back here New Year's Day in the $100,000 Tropical Oaks.

* Jockeys Horacio Karamanos and Omar Camejo were taken to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood for evaluation after Karamanos mount, Mirage, broke down and fell near the three-eighths pole during the running of Saturday's ninth race and Camejo's mount, Pay the Preacher, unseated his rider after striking Mirage.

Camejo suffered "a possible broken right clavicle," according to the emergency technicians who treated the riders on the scene. Karamanos complained of pain in his right knee and upper left abdomen.