MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (April 29, 2010) – Most racing fans in the nation and others worldwide Saturday will be focused on the simulcast of the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, and a highlight of the ‘live’ 12-race program at Calder Casino & Race Course will mark the first 2-year-old races to be run in Florida this season, one colt with a family connection to this year’s ‘Run for the Roses’ field.
Early developments from a new crop of 2-year-olds will all make their career debuts Saturday at Calder with nine colts and geldings entered in the first race and 10 fillies drawn for the fifth race, both maiden special weight events with a purse of $39,000 at 4 ½ furlongs.
Last year, Jackson Bend was the top 2-year-old to campaign at Calder, sweeping the three ‘open’ divisions of the rich Florida Stallion Stakes series for Gold with Sanchez as his regular rider. A majority interest in the chestnut colt by Jacks or Better stallion Hear No Evil was subsequently sold privately to LePenta and he was placed with Zito.
Also entered in the first race Saturday with connections to this weekend’s Derby weekend at Churchill Downs are Rose Family Stable’s pair of Florida homebred colts Hal and Alisa’s Engineer. Owner-breeder-trainer Barry Rose is at Churchill this week to run the family’s 3-year-old filly Joanie’s Catch in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday.
Joanie’s Catch was among the leading 2-year-old fillies developed here last year, finishing second in the My Dear Girl Division finale of the FSS series and five times Graded stakes-placed since then. She is by Rose Family stallion First Tour, sire of Hal, no doubt named for Harold Rose, the family patriarch who passed away in 2003 at age 92.
Fred and Jane Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm will also be represented by a homebred filly in the fifth race here Saturday and Rose Family Stable by a pair. The Jacks or Better filly is Awesome Feather. She is by home stallion Awesome of Course out of Precious Feather, a daughter of Gone West that was a multiple stakes-winner and runner-up in the 2000 Azalea Stakes (G3) for Jacks or Better and trainer Jim Hatchett.
In addition to Jackson Bend in the Derby and the 2-year-olds debuting at Calder Saturday, Jacks or Better has also been in the news this week with a lengthy feature on Brei and his farm near Reddick, Fla. posted in the Ocala Star-Banner Thursday, and another 3-year-old product of the operation set to go to the post in the first classic of the season in Europe Saturday as Al Zir starts in the 2,000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket.
Al Zir is a colt by leading stallion Medaglia d’Oro bred in Florida by Jacks or Better and became the sales topper at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton February 2-year-old sales held in the Calder paddock at $1.6 million, purchased by the Maktoum family and ran three times last year under the Godolphin banner for trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
Al Zir won his first two starts easily at Newmarket and Doncaster and finished third in the Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster last out Oct. 24, ridden by champion jockey Frankie Dettori in all three appearances. They team up again in Saturday’s race to face Coolmore’s St. Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Racing Post Trophy and favorite for the 2,000.
Wolfson Duo Likely Choices in Sumter Overnight
While 2-year-olds will be in the spotlight early on the program Saturday at Calder, trainer Marty Wolfson appears to hold a strong hand with Team Valor and Gary Barber’s 5-year-old Motovato and Estate of Edmund Gann’s 4-year-old Causeway’s Kin the horses to beat in a field of 10 older horses entered in the $55,000 Sumter overnight stakes.
Jockey Elvis Trujillo is named on Motovato and Jermaine Bridgmohan aboard Causeway’s Kin in the one mile and 70 yards test. A son of Proud Citizen, Motovato is the more accomplished and experienced of the two at this point in his career, most recently finishing second in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) on Mar. 13 behind You and I Forever, Causeway Kin’s half-brother, also trained by Wolfson.
Motovato has shown a particular fondness for the Calder track over the last two seasons with four victories and two seconds in as many starts. He won the Sumter at about this time last year and later finished second in the Memorial Day Handicap (G3) and second to Mambo Meister in the Spend a Buck Handicap (G3) in the fall.
Causeway’s Kin is a beautifully-bred colt by Giant’s Causeway out of Grade 1 winner You that was just short of being perfect in three starts at Gulfstream for Wolfson. He lost a neck decision to be second in a six-furlong maiden test on Jan. 3, broke his maiden by 3 ¾ lengths going a mile on Jan. 16 and was very impressive capturing his ‘a other than’ allowance condition by 2 ¾ lengths going a mile last out on Apr. 8.
Completing the field for the Sumter are Haras Cotacachi’s Gabriel’s Hill, Paco Lopez; Sharyn and Peter Wasiluk, Jr.s’ Dinner in Odem, Wilmer Galviz; LMR Stable’s Caixa Electronica, E.E. Perez; Javier Negrete’s Wingedlie, Luis Saez; Joseph LaCombe Stable’s Deputy Glitters, Sebastian Madrid; Osed LLC’s Too Many Toyz, Carlos Olivero; New Life Stable’s Stately Character, A.A. Gallardo; and Herb and Ione Elkins’ Dream Maestro, Manoel Cruz.