10/08/2003 11:00PM

Stroll looks to be lock in derby


MIAMI - Saturday's Festival of the Sun program at Calder was highly attractive to jockey Jerry Bailey, who is seeking to eclipse the single-season record for stakes victories held by Mike Smith.

Bailey is named to ride in seven of the eight stakes on the card and is in position to have a banner day, as he is listed on the likely first or second choices with all seven of those mounts. None of them should have an easier time getting Bailey closer to Smith's mark than Stroll, who looks unbeatable in the $200,000 Calder Derby.

The Grade 3 Calder Derby and its filly counterpart, the $200,000 Calder Oaks, are both carded at 1 1/8 miles on the turf and will be included, along with the In Reality and My Dear Girl Stakes, in a special pick four wager on the 13-race card.

Stroll, currently rated among the leading 3-year-old grass horses in the country, comes into the Calder Derby sporting a four-race winning streak that includes easy victories in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame and Grade 2 Jamaica handicaps.

Trainer Bill Mott could have bypassed the Calder Derby and sent Stroll to the Breeders' Cup, where he likely would have been a factor in the Mile.

"We opted to be a little bit conservative with him," said Mott, who trained Miesque's Approval, second in the 2002 Calder Derby. "Who knows? Maybe if he's this good next year we'll give it a try."

Stroll will carry high weight of 122 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Calder Derby, which is just a pound more than he successfully carried to victory in the Jamaica.

Among the top local contenders in the Calder Derby are Sea Pleasure, Super Frolic, and Regal Bear.

Sea Pleasure is a two-time stakes winner on grass this year. A son of Mecke, Sea Pleasure defeated older horses when he rallied from last to upset the Americana Handicap on July 4, but has failed to hit the board in two subsequent starts.

The Oaks is the only stakes race on the card in which Bailey was not named to ride. Like the Calder Derby, the Oaks drew a full field of 12, led by Formal Miss and Kentucky shipper Petionville Indeed.

Formal Miss moved to the top of the local 3-year-old filly turf division following her easy 3 3/4-length victory over Dakota Light in the Judy's Red Shoes Stakes. Earlier this year, Formal Miss finished third after an eventful trip in the Lone Star Oaks, won by Petionville Indeed.

Petionville Indeed, the only filly to ship in for the Oaks, raced greenly but still won the Lone Star Oaks for four lengths in her stakes debut. She has started just once since that victory, finishing far back when she was overmatched in Belmont Park's Grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap.

Dakota Light and Askforaraise also figure to be key contenders in an Oaks field that includes Miss Tassy, Scapade, Dynba Flyer, Spectacular Lisa, Love Sting, Sweettrickydancer, Truly the Best, and Gypsy Dot.