Though it has attracted the smallest field of the four Summit Preview stakes with just seven entrants, the Unbridled Stakes, for 3-year-olds, could prove the most compelling of the card as a trio of talented sophomores will assemble for the six-furlong test.
Rey Wan Racing’s Hello Prince could do no better than second when meeting Fort Loudon in the In Summation, but the son of Halo’s Image is a three-time winner over the Calder main track, including a powerful six-length score in last year’s Birdonthewire Stakes. Trained by Daniel Pita, Hello Prince finished second in the Grade 3 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in mid-March where he finished behind Trinniberg, the likely favorite in Saturday’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park.
While Fort Loudon and Hello Prince were testing their mettle in continued competition with stakes rivals, Donald Dizney’s promising colt Bahamian Squall was just beginning his career. The Dave Fawkes-trained son of Gone West was impressive when winning his debut at Gulfstream on February 5, and after a pair of difficult stakes attempts that failed to prove fruitful, the colt added a second victory to his ledger when a dominating nine-length local allowance winner in his last start.
Completing the field for the Unbridled Stakes is Aurora Springs Stable’s Steel Man, Vicente Stella Stables, LLC’s Indirectly A.P., Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Harrison Bay, and Brenda Tabraue and Andreas Farm’s Angelofdistinction.
Jacks or Better Farm Inc. and trainer Stanley Gold look well-armed for the six-furlong Leave Me Alone Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, sending out a pair of 2011 Stallion Stakes winners in Redbud Road and Awesome Belle.
Likely the more formidable of the two, Redbud Road is a four-time winner in seven starts that exits a winning effort in the $75,000 French Village Stakes, which was her first outing in nearly seven months. The daughter of Awesome of Course also boasts local stakes wins in last year’s J J’s Dream Stakes and the 2011 running of the Desert Vixen Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
Awesome Belle stole some of Redbud Road’s thunder last year when winning the $300,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, but the filly remains winless in her seven subsequent starts and enters the Leave Me Alone off a seventh-place finish in the French Village.
Blocking Redbud Road and Awesome Belle’s path to glory is Peras International’s supplemental entrant Yara, winner of the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream in February and most recently a failed participant in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Trained by Jose Garoffalo, Yara is also a local stakes winner, having won the $125,000 Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies by 5 ¼ lengths last year.
Priscilla Vaccarezza’s My Due Process, a Dale Romans-trained stakes winner that last competed in the Grade 3 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs, adds additional intrigue to the Leave Me Alone.
Completing the field for the race is Lewis Pell, Michael Eigner, and Pinnacle Racing Stable’s Another Romance, Paula C Racing Stable’s Buleria, Brooklyn Farm and M & M Racing Stables, LLC’s Blue Distinction, Cairoli Racing Stable and Vicente Stella Stables, LLC’s Sinister Tale, Ron Hendrickson’s Who Is Camille, Bluestone Thoroughbreds, LLC’s Commence Firing, and White Hall Lane Farm’s Citizen Advocate.
Fillies and Mares preparing for the Grade 1 Princess Rooney will gather for the six-furlong U Can Do It Handicap, a race that has drawn a full field of 12 and appears to be relatively wide open.
Brinkerhill Farm, LLC’s Tamarind Hall, winner of the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses at Belmont Park last year, was a disappointment when finishing fourth as the odds-on favorite in her last, a top-shelf sprinting allowance on May 13 that marked the mare’s first start in over six months, and her first for trainer Dave Fawkes.
Prior to that failed run, the daughter of Graeme Hall had surely proved her worth with a third-place performance in the Grade 1 Ballerina, a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, and a spot in the starting gate for last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
Among those lining up to test Tamarind Hall is the Gary Aiken-owned and Manny Azpurua-trained Callmethesqueeze, winner of the previously mentioned May 13 allowance where she defeated not only Tamarind Hall, but also bested fellow U Can Do It combatants Flying Trip, Bessie M, and Beso Grande, a 2011 Summit Preview Day winner that captured last year’s running of the Leave Me Alone.
Trainer Marty Wolfson has four horses entered for the U Can Do It, including last year’s runner-up Indulgence, who parlayed that second-place finish into a third-place run in the Princess Rooney for Silverton Hill, LLC. Wolfson will also be represented in the race by Farnsworth Stables, LLC’s Beloveda, Chasing Tails Stables’ Latin Rocks, and Thoroughbred Futures Racing’s Nakano.
Completing the field for the U Can Do It is Teresa and David Palmer’s Wild Bout Tiffany, Solange Chadda’s maiden Nicky Boy, and Drake Smith’s White Merlot.
The Summit Preview Day stakes will conclude with the six-furlong Ponche Handicap, which features Donald Dizney’s speedy sprinter Apriority, a Grade 3-winning and Grade 1-placed son of Grand Slam.
Apriority won the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream in late December 2011, and earlier that year the Dave Fawkes trainee was second in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct. In mid-April, the 5-year-old was beaten less than a length when second in the Grade 3 Count Fleet at Oaklawn Park, and though never a local stakes winner, Apriority is unbeaten in two starts over the Calder main track.
The richest participant on the Summit Preview Day card, and perhaps its most mysterious, is Edward Seltzer’s Field Commission, a near-millionaire that did not compete in 2011 and returns from nearly 19 months on the sidelines for the Ponche.
Now trained by Curtis Garrison, Field Commission called Woodbine Racetrack in Ontario home for all 28 of his career starts, running exclusively over that track’s synthetic and turf courses. While north, the now 7-year-old son of Service Stripe won the Grade 2 Nearctic, the Grade 3 Vigil, and competed in prominent events such as the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile.
Ron Marano’s recent Champali Stakes runner-up and 2011 Spectacular Bid winner Determinato, and Bluestone Thoroughbred, LLC’s two-time local stakes winner Black Diamond Cat, will also line up for the Ponche Handicap.
Completing the field for the Ponche is Samuel Rogers, Jr.’s Close It Out, Pegasus Holdings Group Stables, LLC’s Tell Tale Friend, Kramer Stables, LLC and William Rosenfel’s Asset Exchange, Frank C. Calabrese’s Bull Dozer, Chris Schoeller’s Western Prospector, and the Jacks or Better Farm, Inc. pair of Hear Ye Hear Ye and Jackfrost Ofcourse.
Since its inception in 2008, Summit Preview Day has proved a vital steppingstone towards later success on the prestigious Summit of Speed program.
The Unbridled and Grade 3 Carry Back double has been recorded three times in the last four years, with Golden Spikes accomplishing the feat in 2008, Coffee Boy in 2009, and Indiano last year.
The last two winners of the Ponche Handicap, Big Drama in 2010 and Giant Ryan in 2011, both returned to win the Grade 2 Smile Sprint, with the former continuing on to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and be feted with Eclipse Award honors for Champion Sprinter.
First Passage and Pica Slew, respective winners of the 2009 and 2010 Leave Me Alone Stakes, both returned to achieve Summit of Speed glory when capturing the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes.
And while the U Can Do It Handicap winner has yet to enjoy victory in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney, last year’s heroine Musical Romance, beaten a nose when returning in the Rooney, later tallied victories in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters and the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, thus earning an Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter.
The Summit Preview Day stakes will be run consecutively beginning with the Leave Me Alone Stakes, which goes as race eight with an approximate post time of 4:04 p.m. The Leave Me Alone will be followed by the Unbridled Stakes at 4:30 p.m. and the U Can Do It Handicap at 4:59 p.m. before concluding with the Ponche Handicap at approximately 5:26 p.m. First-race post time is 12:55 p.m.