12/01/2004 12:00AM

White considers options for D'Wildcat Speed


MIAMI - Trainer Bill White expected D'Wildcat Speed to run a big race in the Pocahontas Stakes at Calder on Thanksgiving Day, but he never expected her to win off by half a pole in what was her first start in nearly eight months.

D'Wildcat Speed dominated her division in Puerto Rico last year as a 3-year-old, winning all 12 of her starts, including four Group 1 races. But after only two races earlier this year at Gulfstream Park, her U.S. career came to a halt after she sustained a fractured cannon bone.

"She had been training nicely coming up to this last start and I expected her to do well, but I thought the race she ran was just sensational," said White. "I was always well aware of her record in Puerto Rico, and it's nice to see she is the real deal."

White said he has two options for D'Wildcat Speed's next start, both of which come here on New Year's Day: the Grade 3 Chaposa Springs Handicap at seven furlongs or the Stage Door Betty Handicap at 1 1/16 miles.

"I haven't quite decided which race to run her in, but I think she'll be a force in either race," said White. "We have pretty high hopes for her this winter at Gulfstream, with the Rampart Handicap our ultimate goal if all goes well."

How good is the younger sibling?

White said he is also hopeful D'Wildcat Speed's little brother, D'Court's Speed, will duplicate D'Wildcat Speed's recent performance when he goes off as one of the favorite's in Saturday's What a Pleasure Stakes.

D'Court's Speed is a half-brother to D'Wildcat Speed by Doneraile Court. He has finished second in each of his last two starts, including a near-miss to stablemate Cin Cin in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Oct. 2.

"I would have loved to have been able to get a race under him since the Foolish Pleasure, but there was just no opportunity to run around here," said White. "But I've trained him aggressively for this race, and it's my experience that a quality horse, which I believe he is, has something going for them and can be trained into races off this type of layoff. And his work Monday was as sharp as a tack."

White sends Embassy Garden in Three Ring

White will also send out the lightly raced Embassy Gardens against Aclassysassylassy and the undefeated Smuggler in Saturday's Three Ring Stakes. Owned by Eugene Melnyk, Embassy Gardens added Lasix and blinkers and rebounded from a disappointing career debut to win her maiden by 10 lengths Nov. 7.

"She won very impressively in her last and she's begging to go two turns," said White. "It's a tough spot, but she's bred to be a good horse and Mr. Melnyk likes to step up to the plate whenever he believes he has a good horse."

Chavez in Florida for winter

Embassy Gardens will be ridden in the Three Ring by Jorge Chavez, who began accepting mounts here last weekend and will stay in south Florida throughout the winter.

Chavez, who turned his book over to veteran agent Steve Adika six weeks ago, will also ride Omeya for trainer Jonathan Sheppard in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap and Dependable Herbie for Marty Wolfson if he gets into the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap on the Grand Slam card Saturday.

Chavez is a two-time Calder riding champion, having won both titles here during the 1988 season. He has won 100 races this year.

* Manoel Cruz, second behind only Gary Boulanger in win percentage among riders this meet, improved that mark dramatically when he won four races from just six mounts on Monday's program.

* The new barns constructed along the backstretch at Gulfstream Park opened as scheduled Wednesday, with trainers Allen Jerkens and Nick Zito the first to ship horses in that morning.

* Changing World worked a half mile in 48.60 seconds at Calder on Wednesday. Changing World is one of two horses trainer Barclay Tagg has entered in the My Charmer, along with her younger stablemate Right This Way.