Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Calder Barn Notes: 11-21-11

Trip for A.J. Set for My Charmer Thursday Rain or Shine

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (November 21, 2011) – Trainer Milt Wolfson is not particularly concerned for Peter Fuller’s 4-year-old filly Trip for A.J. whether Thursday’s $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (G3) at Calder Casino & Race Course goes as scheduled at 1 1/8 miles on turf, or wet conditions forced the race to the main track, although he has always felt she is better on grass than dirt.

“She is better on turf but always runs her race,” said the veteran horseman Monday morning. “If the race goes on turf, it will be a tougher field with Denomination and Snow Top Mountain, but if it comes off, several of the good ones appear likely to scratch and it will be a short field and an easier spot.

“She’s doing real good now. She had a big time excuse for her last two races (fourth in Stage Door Betty on Sept. 24 and second in ‘off the turf’ Bea Oxenberg Memorial on Oct. 22). She was foot-sore both times and I wasn’t even sure she’d make those races. I’m pretty sure that her feet got to stinging her both times on the dirt, but we’ve got that taken care of now.

“One way or another, it’ll be a great story if she manages to win this race with Abby riding her,” said Wolfson, referring to the fact that owner-breeder Fuller’s daughter Abigail will be aboard for the first time as she continues her return to the saddle after being retired for nearly a decade. Abigail rode her father’s Eclipse champion filly Mom’s Command to a sweep of New York’s ‘Triple Tiara’ races in 1985.

A chestnut daughter of Trippi, Trip for A.J. finished second by three-quarters of a length in the My Charmer late last year behind Team Block’s top class filly 4-year-old filly Askbut I Wont’tell, trained by Chris Block. Trip for A.J.’s overall career record stands at 24-10-4-2 for earnings of $568,000 and her turf course slate reads 11-5-3-1 for earnings of $381,000.

Canani & Sano Likely to Duel for Tropical Title to Wire

Trainers Nick Canani and Antonio Sano are racing head-to-head for the Tropical Meet title with the score 15-14 going into Monday’s card with seven more programs to be run before the final day of the live racing season on Fri., Dec. 2, although three other horsemen are still within striking distance tied for third at 12 apiece – Steve Dwoskin, Jose Garoffalo and Jose Pinchin.

Canani’s 15 tallies have come from just 40 starters, all of them owned by Frank Calabrese. Sano’s 14 came from 96 starters and he appears likely to have a lot more chances to overtake his rival in the final days, beginning Monday afternoon when he has runners entered in four of the eight races on the card and Canani just one. Sano has five in Thursday and Canani one.

Clement Can Move Up on All-Time Tropical Stakes Wins List

Trainer Christophe Clement has been a major supporter of the Tropical Meet program since the mid-90s when the French-born horseman began shipping from New York into Payson Park winter quarters, and appears set to move toward the top of the all-time Tropical stakes victory list in several of the five Graded stakes to be run in the final days of this session.

Clement went into this meet Tropical Meet with 16 stakes victories to rank sixth on the all-time list led by Marty Wolfson with 28, followed by Luis Olivares second with 21 and Manny Tortora, Frank Gomez and Eddie Plesa, Jr. tied for third at 17 apiece.

Clement could jump into third with a big Thanksgiving holiday weekend performance by contenders in two stakes with Ghislaine Head’s 5-year-old mare Denomination the morning-line favorite in Thursday’s $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (G3) and Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s 6-year-old Winchester, a multiple Grade 1 winner, among the choices in the $150,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) on Saturday.

Clement has previously won the My Charmer twice with Danish in 1995 and Snowdrops in 2005 and the W.L. McKnight in 1996 with Flag Down. To be run on closing day, Dec. 2, are renewals of the $100,000 Le Prevoyante Handicap (G3), a race Clement has won four times previously, and the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (G3) once.

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