Saturday, July 05, 2008
Calder Barn Notes: 7-4-08
Leading sprinters from major racing centers coast-to-coast will be coming to South Florida to run in the four Graded stakes worth a total of $1.3 million to be run on next Saturday’s popular ‘Summit of Speed’ program at Calder Race Course, and jockey Corey Nakatani will be making the trip from his Hollywood Park base to ride that afternoon.
Agent Ron Ebanks confirmed that Nakatani would be on hand for mounts on Southern Equine Stable’s 3-year-old Salute the Sarge in the $250,000 Carry Back Stakes (G2) for trainer Eric Guillot and J. Paul Reddam’s 4-year-old filly Mistical Plan in the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Guillot was also on hand for that first ‘Summit’ in 2000 sending out the top-class filly Show Me the Stage to finish fourth in the Princess Rooney Handicap won by Hurricane Bertie. Guillot had shipped Show Me the Stage from California to Calder the previous summer to win the Azalea Stakes before the race was packaged in the ‘Summit’ program the next season.
Salute the Sarge is a Kentucky-bred colt by Forest Wildcat and was a leading 2-year-old in California last year, winning the Hollywood Juvenile (G3) and the Best Pal Stakes (G2) at Del Mar and the San Miguel Stakes early this year at Santa Anita. Salute the Sarge finished fifth last out as the favorite in the Laz Barrera Memorial (G3) at Hollywood on May 18.
O’Neill was represented by his first ‘Summit of Speed’ starter last summer, shipping Mark Gorman and partners’ 6-year-old mare Maryfield in from California to finish fourth in a memorable renewal of the Princess Rooney Handicap won by River’s Prayer. Maryfield went on to capture the Ballerina Handicap (G1) at Saratoga and the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Monmouth Park to seal an Eclipse Award campaign.
Mistical Plan is a 4-year-old California-bred daughter of Game Plan that made her mark early last year winning the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita and the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) before a fifth-place effort in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) behind Rags to Riches. Mistical Plan will be turning back in distance for the Princess Rooney from a third-place effort behind Ginger Punch in the nine-furlong Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) at Belmont Park on June 14.
Cruz Takes Lead in Calder Standings with Thursday Triple
Veteran jockey Manoel Cruz posted three victories on Thursday’s program at Calder Race Course, breaking a tie for the lead in the rider standings (50-47) going into the 42nd day of the meet with apprentice Paco Lopez, who remains on the sidelines serving suspension days until Thurs., July 10.
Cruz, 38, won Calder Meet titles in 2003 and 2006 and has battled 22-year-old Lopez for the lead through most of the meet with the rivalry expected to resume next weekend. Javier Santiago ranks third currently with 39 victories, followed by Eduardo Nunez fourth and Ariel Smith fifth at 31.
Kirk Ziadie maintains a clear advantage in the trainer standings with 23 tallies, nine ahead of three veterans tied for second at 14 apiece – Eddie Plesa, Jr., Marty Wolfson and Dan Hurtak. Ziadie is the defending Calder Meet champion and has won the title at the last two Tropical Meets as well.
Plesa also has a full division of horses campaigning at Monmouth Park this summer, led by Centaur Stable’s 5-year-old Gottcha Gold, who is entered to defend his 2007 victory in the $300,000 Salvator Mile Handicap (G3) Saturday afternoon. With eight winners so far at Monmouth, Plesa ranks in a four-way tie for sixth in the standings there.
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