11/13/2003 12:00AM

Two best bets in Florida Million


NEW YORK - Breeders' Cup Day, Kentucky Derby Day, Breeders' Cup Preview Day, California Cup Day, New York Showcase Day . . . the list can go on and on. The point is, big event days like these are treats for racing fans. And, just because Thanksgiving is knocking on the door, it doesn't mean that event days are nowhere to be found.

For example, Saturday is the biggest day of the year for Laurel Park. Laurel hosts the only Grade 1 event on the stakes schedule, the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, as well as five other stakes worth a total of $425,000. Saturday is Florida Million Day at Calder Race Course, where six stakes for Florida-breds worth a total of $1 million will be run. Saturday is also Texas Champions Day at Sam Houston, where Texas-breds will contest eight stakes worth a total of $550,000.

Oh yes, there are also stakes to be found at the nation's major racing centers as well. At Aqueduct, the feature is the Grade 2, $150,000 Long Island Handicap. The Grade 2, $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes is the main event at Churchill Downs while the $100,000 Hollywood Prevue is the headliner at Hollywood Park.

Here are three stakes that caught my eye:

Jack Dudley Sprint

Sing Me Back Home may have been the beaten favorite in an unplanned match race last time out, but he is the firm selection in this spot. Sing Me Back Home comes into this stakes at Calder off a near two-month layoff, and that is his game. His last three victories all came when he was fresh, occurring after rests ranging in length from six weeks to seven months.

In each of his successful returns, Sing Me Back Home earned Beyer Speed Figures of either 103 or 104, a figure that figures to be good enough to win this race.

Sing Me Back Home should be in this from the start, yet it is appealing that he doesn't require the lead to win. The services of Jerry Bailey only increase his chances of winning, but it certainly doesn't help the price. Unfortunately, you can't have everything.

Mrs. Revere

Film Maker, the pick here, was a surprise when she won the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in her most recent appearance at better than 11-1, and she won by the narrowest of head bobs. But, the basic facts don't come close to doing justice to her performance. Film Maker was caught four wide around the first turn, and three to four wide around the far turn. Yet, despite that substantial ground loss, Film Maker still finished strongly, and it is much to her credit that she was even in position to be in a win photo at the wire. In fact, a case could be made that had she been able to save ground, she would have won by daylight.

After drawing post 12 in a field of 13, Film Maker is susceptible to another costly wide trip Saturday. On the other hand, this poor draw may actually inflate the odds of a filly who proved to me in her last start that she is simply the best horse in this race.

Jack Price Juvenile

Almost everyone will be concentrating on an interesting battle of the unbeatens at Calder involving Sir Oscar, who is 5 for 5, including four stakes, and Wynn Dot Comma, who is 4 for 4, including two stakes. Yet while the majority focuses on those two, I will take a shot here with Cheetah Speed.

Cheetah Speed performed like a different horse when he recently returned from a freshening. Instead of the colt who struggled to get his first win in his fourth start, he was monstrous. After being taken up sharply leaving the gate, Cheetah Speed came from way back to crush allowance opponents by nearly seven lengths. I concede that a fast early pace may have aided his victory, but this was still very impressive visually. And, the 91 Beyer he earned puts him right in the ballpark with the favorites in this race, who will be a fraction of his price.