Veteran Stakes Performers Meet in Sunday Feature

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (April 30, 2010) – Bea Oxenberg’s Hey Byrn, Luis Olivares’ Green Vegas and Kenneth Hoffman’s Rockerfeller won stakes events earlier in their careers and are set to clash in Sunday’s 6 1/2 furlongs optional/allowance feature at Calder Casino & Race Course, all three entered for a $50,000 claiming tag.

Jockey Paco Lopez gets the call on Hey Byrn for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. as he bids to bounce back from a dull sixth-place effort in an overnight stakes at Gulfstream Park on Mar. 27. The 5-year-old son of Put It Back emerged as a major player in his crop as a 3-year-old in 2008 winning a pair of allowance races at Gulfstream.

Hey Byrn stepped up to the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream for his next start after the two allowance scores and finished fourth behind Big Brown, the latter going on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) in his next start. Hey Byrn went on to capture the Holy Bull Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream in his next appearance and finished seventh of 12 behind Big Brown in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico.

Green Vegas is a 6-year-old gelding by Trippi and scored the biggest victory of his career as a 2-year-old for veteran horseman Luis Olivares in the 2006 edition of the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes and finished third Spectacular Bid Stakes (G3) and OBS Championship in Ocala early in his 3-year-old campaign.

Green Vegas’ form has been spotty over the years since then, but did turn in a good effort finishing fourth in the Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream on Mar. 14, beaten a length for it all. Jockey Carlos Olivero will ride Sunday as Green Vegas bids for his first victory since capturing a ‘three other than’ allowance here on Sept. 3.

Rockerfeller is a 6-year-old gelding by Maria’s Mon that got good in the summer of 2008 racing for breeder Live Oak Plantation and trainer Marty Wolfson, winning the Ponche Handicap and finishing third behind Benny the Bull in the Smile Sprint Handicap (G2). He completed that season winning the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth Park and finishing an even fourth in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.

Rockerfeller didn’t surface again until early this year at Tampa Bay Downs with Kenneth Hoffman as owner-trainer and his best finish in four starts this year was a fourth-place effort in the Sprint Stakes there on Apr. 3. Jockey Rajiv Maragh is named to ride Rockerfeller after he finished last of nine behind Checklist on Apr. 17 at Gulfstream.

Completing the field for Sunday’s feature are Ione and Herb Elkins’ Dream Maestro, Juan Leyva; Carolyn Hine and Gene Stevens’ Post Time, Luis Saez; and New Life Stable’s Trippbuster, Manoel Cruz.

‘Undercover’ Trainer Andreasen Wins with Longsghot on Day 2 at Calder

Trainer Gillian Andreasen found her ‘15 minutes of fame’ last summer when Churchill Downs Incorporated COO Bill Carstanjen came to Calder Casino & Race Course and posed as a prospective hot-walker/groom in a segment filmed for a one-hour episode of CBS Network’s “Undercover Boss” that aired on March 14.

While Carstanjen is particularly occupied this weekend with the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) at Churchill Downs, Andreasen got her picture taken in the Calder winners’ circle after the third race Thursday afternoon after sending out Golden Ticket Stable’s 5-year-old Starship Voyage for a near wire-to-wire victory returning $78.80 to win for each $2 bet.

Tropical Meet Champion O’Connell Battling for Tampa Title

Veteran trainer Kathleen O’Connell had a big year in 2009 climaxed by capturing the Tropical Meet championship and is bidding to add another title to her impressive resume at Tampa Bay Downs where she will go into the final three days of the session tied for the lead with trainer Jamie Ness at 48 victories apiece.

O’Connell has runners entered in six races on Friday’s program at Tampa to one for Ness and they have two each going on Saturday’s card. O’Connell appears to be the very strong favorite to seal the championship with horses entered in seven races on closing day Sunday to one for Ness.

A Calder regular for more than two decades, O’Connell got 2010 off to a good start on New Year’s Day sending out Gilbert Campbell’s homebred 3-year-old gelding Fly By Phil to post a 23-to-1 upset victory over favorite Lost Aptitude in the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (G3).

Although finishing in the top 10 in the standings more often than not at Calder and Tropical meets over the last decade, O’Connell was winning her first title here after having won the Tampa Bay championship previously. She finished fourth at the Calder Meet last year and also ranked high in the standings at Colonial Downs in Virginia the last few summers racing a small division in addition to her full stable at Calder.

O’Connell’s best-known developments include millionaire Blazing Sword, Ivanavinalot, Shananie’s Beat, Check It Twice and This Ones for Phil, who she developed at Calder as a 2-year-old before he was sold privately and placed with trainer Rick Dutrow.