02/21/2005 1:00AM

Stockholder looks to atone

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Bill Mott was at a loss to explain Stockholder's disappointing performance last month in the Sunshine Millions Classic. He is hoping he won't need any explanations after Stockholder squares off against six allowance rivals, including uncoupled stablemate Stolen Time, in Wednesday's $39,000 main event at Gulfstream Park.

was training well heading into the Sunshine Millions Classic but was never a factor and finished 10th, 23 lengths behind upset winner Musique Toujours. The start was just the second for Stockholder since he finished third in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Handicap on opening day of the 2004 Gulfstream meet.

"I really have no explanations for the way he ran last time," said Mott. "No huge excuses, other than he was pretty wide into the first turn, and maybe after losing contact with the leaders he just got a little discouraged."

Stockholder has bounced out of the Sunshine Millions Classic with two excellent works, including a bullet half-mile in 46.80 seconds Feb. 16.

"Physically he's fine, and he's trained extremely well since the Sunshine Millions, but he couldn't have been training any better going into that race, either," said Mott.

The pace scenario Wednesday should suit Stockholder perfectly, and he figures to sit just off the speed of Judiths Wild Rush, Smooth Lover, and Built Up. The turn back to 7 1/2 furlongs is also a plus, since two of his most impressive efforts came over a one-turn mile at Aqueduct at 3.

makes his first start since finishing fourth under jockey Jose Santos in his 2004 finale at Calder, a race for which Mott did have an explanation.

"Jose said he just didn't handle that track over there, and obviously this will be a different track on Wednesday," said Mott.

Stolen Time won two of nine starts as a 3-year-old and also finished second to Zakocity in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap. Like Stockholder, his best Beyer came in a one-turn mile race, when he scored a 5 1/2-length allowance win at Belmont on Oct. 11 and earned a 101 Beyer.

Built Up and Judiths Wild Rush are the only members of the field to show up under a $100,000 tag in the optional claiming race. Built Up has struggled in his four starts since winning Calder's Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap in October. Judiths Wild Rush defeated $50,000 claiming rivals and finished second in an overnight stakes within a 12-day span earlier in the meet, but he is coming off a dull showing at Tampa.