MIAMI, Dec. 7, 2013--People come to the Miami area for the sun and surf. Horses from all over the East and Midwest came for the cash on Saturday, the biggest stakes day ever in terms of numbers.
Eleven added-money races, eight Claiming Crown heats at Gulfstream and two Grade 3â€™s and a listed stakes at Calder were the most ever in one day locally. South Florida based horses generally do well in these situations. Not Saturday. Horses shipping in took home the money eight times.
It didnâ€™t seem as if this was going to be the case early on. The first two Claiming Crown events, the Iron Lady and Glass Slipper, were won by Carolina Lizard and Centrique, respectively. Both had made their most recent starts at Calder.
Carolina Lizard was the dayâ€™s shocker at 35-1. If you had the presence of mind to use her in Gulfstreamâ€™s one-day-only, 10-cent Ultimate Eight, it wasnâ€™t that difficult to come up with the rest for a $60,000 payoff.
The longest prices in the rest of the sequence were a pair of 5-1 shots. Three odds-on horses did their jobs as well as 8-5 and 7-2 shots.
Marty Wolfson, whoâ€™s lethal in South Florida stakes, ran 1-2 in the Glass Slipper but that was it for the home team at Gulfstream.
John Henry will always be the claim of the ages but Ribo Bobo is a 21st century version. Claimed by Jason Servis for $6,250 last March, the same price he had lost him for one race previously, Ribo Bobo won for the 10th time in 11 starts in 2013 in the Express. His only loss was in his most recent start at Penn National when he was beaten by multiple stakes winner Benâ€™s Cat.
Only someone having the kind of year Ken Ramsey is enjoying could win a pair of $125,000 stakes and have it described as a disappointing afternoon. Ramsey led Deanaallenâ€™skitten, last seen at Aqueduct, into the winnerâ€™s circle for the Tiara and Major Marvel, who had won his sixth in a row at Churchill Downs, for the Emerald.
But this was only half as many as a year ago, when he won four Claiming Crown races and had a second and third in two others.
Ramsey tried to one-up himself with five starters but his Be Brave ran sixth behind Parx shipper Goodtimehadbyall in the Rapid Transit; Brother Bird was a distant seventh in the Iron Horse won by Indiana ship-in Point Finish and Bernie the Maestro was a disappointing sixth as the favorite in the Jewel, won by Aqueduct shipper Nevada Kid, ridden by Luis Saez. Earlier in the afternoon Saez had won the Fred W. Hooper with Csaba at Calder eight miles to the west.
Csaba saved the day for the locals as Speaking of Which, coming in from the Big A, and Valiant Girl, last seen at Keeneland, took the Tropical Turf Handicap and My Charmer, respectively.
For Csaba it was his ninth win in 12 Calder starts, including all three this year. "Heâ€™s a monster here,â€ť jubilant trainer Phil Gleaves said.