11/07/2007 12:00AM

Statebreds Smoke'n Coal, High Resolve return

EmailMIAMI - A couple of Florida-bred 2-year-olds who left the nest return to their roots on Saturday, and their presence should help focus a little national attention on Calder's $1.2 Florida Million Day card.

Smoke'n Coal, a son of Smoke Glacken, was purchased by Darley Stable for $550,000 right out of the Calder paddock in the 2007 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. sale. High Resolve, a daughter of Put It Back, went for $135,000 two months later at the Ocala April sale. Both are undefeated in two starts and will face their stiffest challenges in both distance and competition on Florida Million Day.

Smoke'n Coal did not launch his career until the fall, but quickly became a horse to watch after withstanding a torrid pace duel to win his debut by three lengths. He returned four weeks later and ran an even better race, winning an overnight stakes at Belmont Park against a talented group that included Rollers and Sargent Seattle.

Smoke'n Coal has yet to race beyond six furlongs, and, as a result, the seven furlongs of Saturday's Jack Price Juvenile will answer a few more questions regarding his future. So, too, will his much-anticipated matchup with local 2-year-old kingpin Wise Answer, already a proven commodity at seven furlongs and beyond and virtually unchallenged in each of his three stakes victories.

But Smoke'n Coal has license to handle the added ground as well as the competition. He is a half-brother to the five-time graded stakes

winner Smok'n Frolic, whose resume includes victories in the Grade 2 Cotillion and Grade 2 Demoiselle stakes and earnings that exceeded $1.5 million at the time of her retirement.

"I don't know how far his best distance will be until we try him further, but I'm not too concerned about him getting seven furlongs," said trainer Tom Albertrani. "This will certainly be a good test to see where our colt belongs, and should help us to decide where he'll go from here."

Trainer Greg Gilchrist has similar questions to answer with High Resolve, who has been untested in two wins at Bay Meadows but has yet to race beyond six furlongs or face the type of competition she'll meet in Saturday's Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies.

"She's really fast," said Gilchrist. "She's as quick as these kind of fillies come. But for my money seven furlongs is probably the toughest distance for a young horse because a lot of them get confused the first time they try it. When I trained Soviet Problem the most tired I ever saw her was the first time she ran seven furlongs."

Gilchrist has reason to be a little tired himself. After crossing the country to run Smokey Stover in the Breeders' Cup Sprint, he'll turn around and make the long trip from his Northern California base with High Resolve for the Florida Million.

"I had the option of running her in L.A. next week, but that race was for $100,000," Gilchrist said. "This one is $150,000, and it's against statebreds, which is a pretty good opportunity for us - although, to be honest, if it wasn't for the extra $50,000 we wouldn't have come. But she needs to show she can be competitive with this kind if she's going to be a good horse, and this looks like a pretty logical step."

Trujillo-Cruz battle heats up

Elvis Trujillo dominated the Calder spring-summer meet, dethroning reigning champion rider Manoel Cruz in the process. But turnabout has been fair play during the early stages of the Tropical-at-Calder session with Cruz jumping out to a 29-22 lead in the standings over Trujillo through the first 16 days of the meet. Trujillo missed one of those days to travel to Monmouth Park, where he won the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint aboard Maryfield.

The two leading riders will both be extremely active on Florida Million Day, each having mounts in all eight stakes on the card. Trujillo's best chances appear to be with starting highweights Cat Can Do in the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap and Electrify in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Handicap. Cruz's best mounts may be Touched by Madness in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup and Imawildandcrazyguy in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic.