05/19/2010 11:00PM

Wolfson going for big game


MIAMI - Jet Propulsion would have been a standout in Saturday's $55,000 Mecke overnight stakes at Calder, but trainer Marty Wolfson has decided to bypass the race to await what could be a much more lucrative payday two weeks later at Belmont Park.

"I've just decided to skip this race and wait for the Manhattan with Jet Propulsion," Wolfson said Thursday. "Why run for $55,000 when I can run him in a Grade 1 race for a purse of $400,000 in a couple of weeks?"

Jet Propulsion has been a bit of a project for Wolfson since he was claimed for $50,000 out of a win in his 2009 finale on Dec. 12. A 7-year-old gelding, Jet Propulsion returned quick dividends with a wire-to-wire, two-length victory in the Sunshine Millions Turf in his 2010 debut, but he has lost three subsequent starts, including an eighth-place finish here opening day in the Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap. In that race, his chances were compromised by an awkward start, and he was a handful just to coax onto the turf course.

"That's just him before the race,"

Wolfson said. "He did it in New Orleans and prior to the Sunshine Million at Gulfstream, too. He's always been that way. I have taken him back a couple of times to work from the gate since his last start, and he'll have one more gate work before leaving for New York."

Wolfson also entered the stakes winner Stones River for the Mecke, but said he, too, is not likely to start.

The defection of both Wolfson runners could make Fearless Eagle the horse to beat if the Mecke stays on the grass. Fearless Eagle showed surprising early speed to set the pace in the Miami Mile before gradually fading through the final furlong to finish fifth, two lengths behind winner Mambo Meister. A 6-year-old, Fearless Eagle will find the competition a lot easier Saturday, when he seeks his first victory since capturing the Tampa Turf Classic for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and owner Isaac Muhtar in the spring of 2009.

Trainer Bill Kaplan has entered the pair of Dream Maestro and Imawildandcrazyguy in the Mecke. Neither has won a race on turf. Other contenders include Grand Cash, a two-time stakes winner on grass here at 3, Pound Foolish, and Mean Sax.

Jet Propulsion will be one of four horses Wolfson plans to run on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 5. He is also targeting the Acorn for Dances with Ashley, the Woody Stephens with Thank U Phillipe, and the Just a Game with either Cherokee Queen or Omega Cat. He will also be at Belmont the previous week to run You and I Forever in the Grade 1 Metropolitan.