01/24/2003 12:00AM

Strizzi's rep can blossom in Feldman


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - As scrambled as the 3-year-old division in south Florida seems to be this winter, the 3-year-old turf division also is up for grabs.

Nothing to Lose, winner of the Tropical Park Derby at Calder, probably is the nominal leader but is skipping Sunday's Dave Feldman Stakes at Gulfstream Park, presenting an opportunity for another horse to vault toward the top of the 3-year-old turf division.

Strizzi, a visually striking winner of a recent turf allowance, is the most logical to take that big step forward in the $100,000 Feldman, a 1 1/16-mile turf race. A gray colt by Lit de Justice, Strizzi was sensational in rallying from last to first to win an entry-level allowance here Jan. 8.

Malcolm Pierce, the former longtime assistant trainer for Sam-Son Farm, is the trainer of Strizzi, a Canadian-bred who is owned and bred by Stronach Stables. Pierce conceded that the move into stakes company is bold, but said, "off that last race, this is probably the time to do it. If he runs like that again, he should be tough again Sunday."

Strizzi will start from post 6 in a full field of 12 entered in the Feldman, which drew a handful of interesting challengers.

Millennium Storm might be the most accomplished of them. He won the Nov. 30 Mecke Stakes at Calder, then ran second in the Tropical Park Derby on New Year's Day. Trained by Bill White, the Florida-bred Millennium Storm is one of the likely pacesetters in the field.

Hypnotist, trained by Barclay Tagg, might be a sleeper. After winning a maiden race at Delaware in September, Hyponist came back with a sharp runner-up finish in an Oct. 9 allowance on the Belmont turf. A Favorite Trick colt, Hypnotist has been working steadily in recent weeks at the Palm Meadows training center.

Several of the also-rans in the Tropical Park Derby are back with decent chances, considering a mere 3 1/2 lengths separated winner Nothing to Lose from the eighth-place finisher, Unbridels King, a colt who drew post 8 in this race. White Cat, Sea Pleasure, and Super Frolic also return on Sunday from that race.

The Feldman, named for the late Chicago Sun-Times racing writer, is the highlight of a 10-race Sunday card that starts at noon Eastern, an hour earlier than normal. The earlier post is to accommodate the Super Bowl kickoff of 6:18. The last race is scheduled for about 4:10.

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