Sunday, August 03, 2008
Wolfson Team Leads Calder Connections on Haskell Day at Monmouth
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (August 2, 2008) – Calder-connected horses and horsemen had a good weekend at Monmouth Park during the Breeders’ Cup World Championships in late October, including the victory of Maryfield in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint with Elvis Trujillo aboard and Gottcha Gold finishing second in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr.
The biggest day at Monmouth since then comes on Sunday with the running of the $1 million Haskell Invitational with a full menu of other stakes to be run earlier on the card, and trainer Marty Wolfson has sent a team of four stakes runners from Calder for three of the races with former Calder leading riders Eddie Castro and Trujillo to ride them.
Also entered in the Matchmaker is D and E Horses and trainer Herman Wilensky’s 4-year-old filly Cozzi Capital, winner of the $200,000 Calder Oaks in October and second to Dancing Band in a Calder allowance in early June before shipping to Monmouth for a summer campaign.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out Lawrence Goichman’s 5-year-old mare J’ray in the Matchmaker. Fifth last out in the All Along, J’ray has done very well over the last few seasons running in stakes at Calder, most recently finishing a game second in the $300,000 Mairzy Doates Handicap in late April.
A New York-bred daughter of Distant View, J’ray won the Tropical Park Oaks early in 2006, finished second in the Frances A. Genter (G3) later that season, and was back last fall to capture the My Charmer Handicap (G3).
Wolfson’s other two starters in Sunday’s Monmouth stakes are Live Oak Plantation’s 4-year-old gelding Rockerfeller in the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes with Castro aboard and Miklin Stable’s 5-year-old mare Dixie Dreamer in the $100,000 Regret Stakes, also with Castro. Rockerfeller finished a game third last out behind Benny the Bull in the $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) on ‘Summit of Speed’ day at Calder, July 12.
A memorable performance from last year’s Tropical Meet was the 67-to-1 upset victory of Patricia Generazio’s 5-year-old gelding Presious Passion in the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) in December for trainer Mary Hartmann, and he will see action in Sunday’s $150,000 Oceanport Handicap (G3) at Monmouth.
A son of Royal Academy, Presious Passion has gone on to confirm his W.L. McKnight form, winning the Pan American Handicap (G2) at Gulfstream Park in early April and the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (G1) last out at Monmouth on July 5 at odds of nearly 14-to-1, a Breeders’ Cup Turf Division ‘Win and You’re In’ event.
Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) hero Big Brown faces six rival 3-year-olds in the Haskell Invitational, including Robert LaPenta’s Coal Play, a son of Mineshaft trained by Nick Zito that finished second as the favorite in the What a Pleasure Stakes at Calder on Dec. 1 behind Check It Twice.
Lopez Regains Lead in Calder Standings
Apprentice Paco Lopez won two races on Friday’s program at Calder Race Course to extend his lead over veteran Manoel Cruz to four, 73-69, after 63 days of the session. Javier Santiago ranks third with 58 victories, followed by Eduardo Nunez fourth at 45 and Ariel Smith fifth with 43 tallies.
Kirk Ziadie continues to hold a clear lead in the trainer standings with 29 winners as he defends his 2007 Calder Meet championship with Dan Hurtak six behind in second with 23 and Eddie Plesa, Jr. third at 21. Marty Wolfson is fourth with 19 victories from just 44 starters, followed by Steve Dwoskin in fifth with 17.
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