Around 6:30 a.m., Awesome Belle went 4 furlongs in :49 flat. The 4-year-old filly is nominated for the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at 7 ½-furlongs on the turf.
“We try not to go too fast with her,” trainer Stanley Gold said. “We know she has plenty of speed and she’s plenty fit so we just want to maintain her where she is. She went in :49 and out in 1:02 and that was before the break when the track is not as fast as it is right after the break. The main thing was that she blew off a little bit of steam and she came back good and she feels good so I was happy with that.”
All three of Gold’s contenders for the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap worked after the renovation break.
First up was Fort Loudon. The 4-year-old worked 4 furlongs in :48.60.
“He’s a horse that you have to push to work,” Gold said. “He would like to not do anything if he didn’t have to, but when you ask him there’s plenty there. He’s responsive, but he’s the kind of horse that you could go around there in 3 minutes if you wanted to. He did what we needed him to do and that’s why I sent him out at 7:30 when it was more crowded and there was more for him to see what was going on.”
The 6-year-old Jackson Bend reached the second-fastest time of the morning for 4 furlongs, clocking in at :47.80.
“This is his normal thing. He was pretty quick. He went :47 and change and he came back full of himself,” Gold said. “He was happy to take off, go fast, and come home and bounce around the shedrow.”
The 5-year-old Grande Shores, a half-brother to Jackson Bend, made the third-fastest time of the day for 4 furlongs, working in :48 flat.
“The work that I liked the best was Grande Shores, because by the time he went out it was almost a quarter to 9, 9 o’clock and the track is probably at its slowest,” Gold said. “He is by himself, the track is empty, the track is slow, and he’s still cooking right along.”
Awesome Belle was victorious in her most recent start in a one mile allowance on the dirt at Calder after winning the Mairzy Doates Stakes at 1 1/16-miles on the dirt in May. Fort Loudon finished sixth in the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park while running for trainer Nick Zito in his most recent start. In the Ponche Handicap, the local prep race for the Smile Sprint, Grande Shores made a closing move to earn the show.
Gold said that he hopes to run all three horses in the Smile Sprint.
Also working after the break were trainer David Fawkes’ two nominees for the Smile Sprint – the half-brothers Apriority and Bahamian Squall.
The two went 4 furlongs in company with each other, clocking in a time of :48.60. Apriority worked on the outside with Stephanie Laricci aboard, while Bahamian Squall worked from the inside with Mike McCarthy aboard.
“I thought they would be good company for each other, and it worked out perfect. Both of them got something out of it and didn’t overexert themselves,” Fawkes said. “They went :48 and change and galloped out in 1:01 and change; I thought it was a perfect breeze.”
Apriority finished sixth in the Grade 3 Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park while running for trainer Bob Baffert in his most recent race. In the Ponche, Bahamian Squall finished fourth as the post-time favorite, breaking fifth then quickly taking the lead for much of the race, then faded down the stretch.
Fawkes said that both Apriority and Bahamian Squall have pretty similar running styles. They both are expected to run in the Smile Sprint.
Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes contenders topped the workout times on Saturday.
Sr. Quisqueyano scored yet another bullet workout for trainer Luis Olivares, flying to a :47.20 time at the 4-furlong distance with jockey Carlos Olivero aboard on Saturday morning after the break.
“He did it pretty easy, so I hope he runs better than he did last time,” Olivares said. “Last time he got hit in the gate, he had a little problem around. Three-quarters of a mile is not his cup of tea, but we’ll probably run him in the three-quarter of a mile. He’s training well; nothing wrong with him.”
Saturday’s workout was just Sr. Quisqueyano’s second workout since the Ponche. On June 22, he started back at 4 furlongs in :48.80. Leading up to the Ponche, Sr. Quisqueyano worked a 4-furlong bullet in :47.80, increased to a 5-furlong bullet in 1:01 flat, cut back to 4 furlongs for a best :47 flat bullet, then slowed down to :48.60 for 4 furlongs the Saturday before.
Trainer Antonio Sano’s City of Weston worked the second fastest time at 5 furlongs, going 1:01.20 with jockey Jesus Rios aboard.
The week prior, City of Weston made a bullet time at 5 furlongs going one second faster, clocking in at 1:00.20 on June 22. His first work since the Ponche came on June 15, when he started back with a :48.40 time at 4 furlongs – the third fastest work that day.
In the Unbridled Stakes, the local prep race for the Carry Back, Sr. Quisqueyano finished fourth as the post-time favorite and raced off-the-pace. City of Weston made his bid from off-the-pace as well, closing strong down the stretch to miss second by just a nose and had to settle for show.
Also working Saturday morning was trainer William A. Kaplan’s Putyourdreamsaway, who is nominated for the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes. She worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.60. She finished second in a one mile claiming race on the dirt at Calder in her most recent start. Trainer Herman Wilensky’s Anillo, who is nominated for the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes, also worked 5 furlongs, clocking a time of 1:03.20. He finished fifth in the Unbridled.
On Sunday morning, trainer Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.’s Artefacto sizzled in his final workout before the Summit of Speed, going 4 furlongs in :46.80. One week prior, he hit 4 furlongs in :48.40.
Artefacto is nominated for both the Smile Sprint and the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Stakes at 5 furlongs on the turf. In his most recent race, Artefacto reached victory by a neck in a 5-furlong optional claimer on the dirt at Calder on June 8.
Angelica Zapata skipped over the main track in her final work for the Summit of Speed. With jockey Juan Leyva aboard, Angelica Zapata worked a 5 furlong bullet in 1:01.80.
“I thought she worked really good,” trainer Ronald Pellegrini said. “I told Juan to just go about 1:02 and the track might be a little on the fast side because she went a little faster than that. I was very pleased. She has natural speed.”
While Angelica Zapata is nominated for both the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Stakes at 6 furlongs on the dirt and the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at 7 ½-furlongs on the turf, Pellegrini is favoring the latter for his 5-year-old mare.
“We’re probably going to run in the Hollywood Wildcat. She can run on the turf and if they take it off and it goes to the dirt, a mile on the dirt she would like, too,” Pellegrini said. “I’m just afraid the track being so fast favoring speed that she wouldn’t be able to catch up.”
In the U Can Do It Handicap, the local prep race for the Princess Rooney, Angelica Zapata finished fourth as the post-time favorite, running off the pace and advancing to no avail in her first start since last September. Angelica Zapata closed out her 2012 campaign with four-straight stakes victories at Calder, all of which were run at distances of one mile and longer.
The six stakes races that comprise the Summit of Speed carry purses totaling $1,200,000. They are the $350,000 Grade 1 Princess Rooney Stakes, the $350,000 Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap, the $150,000 Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, the $150,000 Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes, the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes and the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Stakes.