11/21/2002 12:00AM

Worldly Victor finds winning elusive


MIAMI - Worldly Victor was only two weeks into his 3-year-old campaign when he became a stakes winner, upsetting Gulfstream Park's Dave Feldman Stakes in a field that included multiple turf stakes winners Lord Juban and August Storm.

Ten months later Worldly Victor will still be seeking his second victory of the year when he starts as the logical choice in Saturday's $40,000 Amerilad Stakes on the turf.

Worldy Victor has changed hands since the Feldman, having moved into trainer Dave Vivian's barn after shipping back to south Florida late this summer. In the Amerilad, he faces only 3-year-olds for the first time since finishing fifth against a strong field in Churchill Downs's Grade 3 Crown Royal American Turf Handicap on Kentucky Derby Day.

Worldly Victor showed signs of his early-season form in his most recent start when he overcame trouble at the break to finish second against older third-level allowance/optional claiming competition here nearly six weeks ago. He earned a career-high 89 Beyer Speed Figure, one point higher than his mark for winning the Feldman.

Perhaps the only obstacle standing between Worldy Victor and the winner's circle on Saturday is the weather and the chance the Amerilad could come off the turf. There has been no grass racing here for nearly a week, and the inner course took yet another drenching early Thursday morning.

If the Amerilad stays on the grass, Worldly Victor may face his toughest competition from the vastly improved Pah, Stormy Roman, or Class of Seventy.

Pah has won three straight since moving into trainer Marty Wolfson's barn this summer. One of those victories was a late-striding neck decision over entry-level allowance foes on the grass in late September.

Stormy Roman has won 3 of his 5 career tries on grass, including each of his last two outings, although he has not started since Aug. 18.

Class of Seventy finished sixth after an eventful trip in the Grade 3 Calder Derby. He and Stormy Roman are the only three-time turf winners in the lineup.

Mecke and Hollywood Wildcat

Nominations have been released for the $100,000 Mecke Stakes and its filly counterpart, the Hollywood Wildcat, to be run here next Saturday. Both races are for 2-year-old going 1 1/16 miles on the grass.

Topping the list of candidates for the Hollywood Wildcat is Ocean Drive, who is perfect in three starts, all on grass, including the Salem County and Green River Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Coa moves into No. 2 spot

Eibar Coa became the second winningest Tropical-at-Calder jockey earlier this week, passing Jose Velez Jr., when he rode his 394th winner. Jacinto Vasquez tops the list with 456 victories.

Velez, who has returned after spending another successful summer on the New Jersey circuit, won his 12th Tropical stakes race last Saturday with Elegant Designer in the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies.

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