MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (June 10, 2012) – Calder’s all-time leading rider Manoel Cruz returned to the local jockey’s room on Thursday after plying his trade in states north for the last 14 months, and the immediate returns have been positive as the veteran jockey won four races on Saturday, including two of the four Summit Preview Day stakes.

“It feels so good being back at this place; I feel one-hundred percent at home,” Cruz said. “The reason I came back is because of my son. He is sick, and in the hospital right now, so I offer those wins to him.”

Cruz scored his first victory of the afternoon in race five with Guiltyguiltyguilty, but saved his best work for the second half of the program, winning the last three races of the day, including triumphs in the U Can Do It Handicap aboard Wild Bout Tiffany and the Ponche Handicap with Field Commission.

“I am so appreciative of the trainers and thankful they have confidence in me,” Cruz said. “I’ve been riding for 20 years, so they know I’m very professional. And I’m thankful for the chances they’ve already given me.”


While Cruz is re-establishing ties that had grown out of years of local success, another veteran jockey, Luca Panici, is attempting to create new connections off a three-day period of success where he visited the winner’s circle four times, including a pick-up mount aboard Leave Me Alone Stakes winner Another Romance for trainer Bill Kaplan, who had named Sebastian Madrid aboard the filly at time of entry.

“We couldn’t get any of our regular riders,” Kaplan explained. “I didn’t think Madrid would be here, but we named him anyway, and that bought us a little time to find a rider. We ended up going to Panici, and he rode the horse perfectly.”

The next likely race for Another Romance is the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, where Panici appears likely to retain the mount.

“Right now, I would say we’ll stay with Panici,” Kaplan said. “He did everything right today and probably deserves to ride her back.”


With exception of Fort Loudon’s victory in the Unbridled Stakes, where he paid $3.20, the Summit Preview Day results can surely be labeled surprising, at least when judged by the pari-mutuel standards set over the last two years of the Summit Preview program.

The Ponche Handicap victory by Field Commission, won in stakes-record time, brought bettors the richest reward of the afternoon, as the millionaire returned $39.00 for his decisive win. This was in far contrast from the last two Ponche winners, Giant Ryan and Big Drama, who paid a respective $3.20 and $2.60.

Another Romance brought back a $33.00 win mutuel when taking the Leave Me Alone, a sharp contrast to the $6.00 and $3.80 that Beso Grande and Pica Slew paid winning the 2011 and 2010 editions of the race.

Finally Wild Bout Tiffany returned her backers with a $29.00 prize in the U Can Do It, as opposed to the paltry $4.80 and $6.40 that bettors dined on with Musical Romance in 2011 and First Passage in 2010.


Shivananda Parbhoo reports that Giant Ryan suffered dual sesamoid fractures in his left front ankle when injured in Saturday’s running of the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park.

Giant Ryan will be sent to New Bolton Center in Pennsylvania for surgery.