07/04/2004 11:00PM

Unbridels King takes Mecke Handicap

Jim Lisa
Unbridel's King, with jockey Eddie Castro aboard, wins the $100,000 Mecke Handicap on the Fourth of July at Calder Race Course.

MIAMI, Fla. - What a difference a day makes. Twenty-four hours after watching his 1-5 favorite B B Best finish a frustrating fourth in the Criterium Stakes, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. was all smiles again while posing in the winner's circle following Unbridels King one length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Mecke Handicap.

Steady showers which began two hours prior to the Mecke softened the turf course, especially around the second turn, and resulted in four late scratches from the original 12 horse field including highweight and likely favorite Mr. Livingston.

As expected, Hear No Evil set the early pace, posting blistering fractions of :22.44, :45.58 and 1:10.14 over what appeared to be the better portion of the turf course. Marco's Word engaged the leader and wrested command around the second turn while Unbridels King began to unleash his rally three wide leaving the backstretch.

Unbridels King forged to command in early stretch, edged clear near the eighth pole then withstood a final surge from Coahoma. The latter raced near the rear of the pack following a slow start, swung wide into the stretch and finished best of all. Classic Par rallied mildly along the rail to be third.

Hear No Evil, the 2-1 favorite, stopped badly once relinquishing the lead and finished a well beaten seventh.

Unbridels King was ridden to victory by leading jockey Eddie Castro and returned $10.20 after covering one mile and one eighth in 1:47.30 over a course officially listed as "good". Plesa trains the winner for co owners Bea Oxenberg and Marion Montarnai.

"The scratches helped move us in from original post 12 and I don't think a little give to the course hurt him either," said Plesa. "He seems to have been just a cut below some of the top stakes horses around here but he has ability and we'll see after today where he fits."