02/22/2003 1:00AM

Tampa Bay: White Buck scores 27-1 upset


OLDSMAR, Fla. - The picture for the $250,000 Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby didn't get any clearer as Olga Paradise's White Buck rallied down the stretch through a driving rain and posted a stunning neck upset at 27-1 in the $50,000 Sam. F. Davis Stakes, the traditional prep for Tampa Bay Downs' top 3-year-old stakes.

Ridden by Roger Velez, White Buck angled out on the second turn to go after pacesetter Coach Jimi Lee, battled with that one through the lane, then after being headed by another longshot, 29-1 Freedom Lane, came back again for a hard-earned decision.

It was three lengths farther back to Coach Jimi Lee, who turned in a good effort despite charging the stall doors before the start and hitting his head on the gate, and another half-length back to Risky Cat, who came on again after dropping back through the turn.

White Buck scored his second win for trainer Jerry Paradise while paying $56.40 and covering the 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track in 1:45.47

In the $50,000 SunCoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Just Bill Me, who had had problems at the start of her last two, broke sharply Saturday under Rosemary Homemeister, drove to the front into the stretch, then held off Crimson and Roses by three-quarters of a length. Dakota Light finished 1 1/2 lengths back in third.