MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (July 7, 2008) -- IEAH Stables and partners’ 5-year-old Benny the Bull is the top-ranked sprinter in North America, currently on a four-race win streak, and Halsey Minor’s 4-year-old filly Dream Rush rates high among the nation’s filly and mare sprinters, and both will see action Saturday on Calder Race Course’s $1.3 million ‘Summit of Speed’ program.
Trained by Rick Dutrow, Benny the Bull will likely be an odds-on favorite in a field of nine older horses drawn for the $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) with regular rider Edgar Prado aboard. Former Calder champion jockey Eibar Coa returns for the mount on Dream Rush as the morning-line choice in the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) in a field of seven fillies and mares.
The Smile Sprint and Princess Rooney are designated Breeders’ Cup Challenge ‘Win and You’re In’ events, guaranteeing the winners a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, respectively, to be run this year at the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita Park on the weekend of Oct. 24-25.
Benny the Bull Bids for Fifth Straight in Smile Sprint
Benny the Bull is a Florida-bred son of Lucky Lionel and last tasted defeat when fourth behind Midnight Lute in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27 run over a ‘sloppy’ track after getting off to a poor start.
Benny the Bull came back to capture the DeFrancis Memorial Sprint (G1) at Laurel Park in November and has won all three of his starts this year, beginning with the Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park in January and the $2 million Golden Shaheen Stakes (G1) in Dubai in March.
In one outing since the demanding trip to Dubai, Benny the Bull was up in time for a neck victory in the True North Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park on June 7 prior to the stinging disappointment his connections would face later that afternoon when 3-year-old stablemate Big Brown finished last in the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Finishing second in the True North was S. Stephen Atkins’ 6-year-old gelding Man of Danger, who set the pace to the final strides. A son of Tiger Ridge trained by Bruce Levine, Man of Danger will try him again in the Smile Sprint with a one-pound shift in the weights from the True North (124-115). Man of Danger has finished second in four straight stakes this year in New York in as many starts. Eibar Coa gets the call.
A fresh challenge for Benny the Bull will come from Maggi Moss’ 5-year-old gelding Indian Chant shipping in from Kentucky for trainer Tom Amoss and several talented Calder home team sprint division leaders, currently led by Live Oak Plantation’s 4-year-old gelding Rockerfeller, trained by Marty Wolfson.
Regular rider Jamie Theriot rides Indian Chant, who has won his last two starts at Churchill Downs, most recently the Aristides Stakes (G3) on May 31. The California-bred son of Suggest finished second in his first three starts of this campaign, two at Oaklawn Park and another at Keeneland.
Calder-based jockey Javier Santiago retains the mount on Rockerfeller, who has been very impressive winning both of his starts at the meet by big margins since being sent to Wolfson earlier this year. The son of Maria’s Mon won an allowance race by six lengths in May and the Ponche Handicap by seven lengths last out on June 14.
Completing the field for the Smile Sprint are Brian Prichard’s How’s Your Halo, Juan Leyva; Jacks or Better Farm’s Winnies Tigger Too, Paco Lopez; Chester Bishop’s Blue Pepsi Lodge, Elvis Trujillo; Lindy Redding’s Ravalo, Victor Espinoza; and Rolbea Thoroughbred’s Finallymadeit, Eduardo Nunez.
Dream Rush Makes Second Season Start in Princess Rooney
While Benny the Bull didn’t have his best day on the ‘sloppy’ track at Monmouth Park in the Breeders’ Cup, neither did Dream Rush, who finished fifth as the second choice in the inaugural edition of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint that weekend after setting the pace to inside the eighth pole.
A daughter of Wild Rush, Dream Rush had won the Prioress Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park and the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in her two starts prior to the Breeders’ Cup for West Point Thoroughbreds and trainer Rick Violette, Jr. She sold shortly after for $3.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton November sale to Halsey Minor, a relative newcomer as a thoroughbred owner, with Violette retained as trainer.
Violette was in no hurry to bring Dream Rush back to the races earlier this year with the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita as the ultimate goal of her campaign again this season, and she has started only once, finishing second by a length in the Vagrancy Handicap (G2) at Belmont on May 25 after holding a four-length lead past the eighth pole in the 6 ½-furlong test.
Rallying from off the pace to victory in the Vagrancy was Lansdon Robbins III’s 4-year-old filly Looky Yonder and she has also made the trip from New York for the Princess Rooney with Edgar Prado to ride for trainer Rick Dutrow. A daughter of Johannesburg, Looky Yonder is versatile and won her previous start at Belmont going wire-to-wire on a ‘sloppy’ track in a ‘three other than’ allowance.
Puglisi Stables and trainer Steve Klesaris’ 5-year-old mare Miraculous Miss will also attract plenty of support in the Princess Rooney with Victor Espinoza in the saddle. Miraculous Miss is a veteran of both last year’s Princess Rooney and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The daughter of Mr. Greeley is a confirmed closer and rallied for fifth in the Calder race and finished a strong second in the ‘slop’ at Monmouth, beaten only a half-length for it all.
Completing the field for the Princess Rooney are Miklin Stable’s Dixie Dreamer, Jermaine Bridgmohan; J. Paul Reddam’s Mistical Plan, Corey Nakatani; Tanourin Stable’s Bereba, Javier Santiago; and Richard Averill’s Rgirldoesn’tbluff, Elvis Trujillo.
Lantana Mob & Golden Spikes Clash in Carry Back
Vinery Stable’s Lantana Mob, winner of the Bachelor Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April and Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (G3) at Pimlico on Preakness Day in May, and M375 Thoroughbreds’ and Suarez Racing’s Calder-based Golden Spikes will face off as the likely favorites in the Carry Back with jockeys Eibar Coa and Elvis Trujillo aboard, respectively.
A son of Posse, Lantana Mob won the Tyro Stakes and Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park as a 2-year-old last summer and completed his campaign finishing third in the Favorite Trick Stakes there on Breeders’ Cup weekend. Lantana Mob made all of his previous career starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, but was recently transferred to trainer Michael Trombetta, who sends him out Saturday.
Golden Spikes is a local favorite trained by Marty Wolfson and won the Unbridled Stakes by a nose on June 14 on the ‘Summit’ PREVIEW card when the stable had an outstanding afternoon with Rockerfeller capturing the Ponche Handicap and Dixie Dreamer scoring in the U Can Do It Handicap.
A son of Seeking the Gold, Golden Spikes was turning back in distance for the Ponche from a fourth-place effort behind Casino Drive in the nine-furlong Peter Pan Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park in May after a very good runner-up effort behind Recapturetheglory in the Illinois Derby (G2) at Hawthorne in his previous start.
Another threat in the Carry Back will be Southern Equine Stable’s Salute the Sarge, shipping in from California for trainer Eric Guillot with jockey Corey Nakatani coming along for the ride. A son of Forest Wildcat, Salute the Sarge won the Hollywood Juvenile (G3) and Best Pal Stakes (G2) and finished second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) last year and the San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita early this season.
Completing the field for the Carry Back are M.S.M. Stable’s Successful Love, Juan Leyva; Timothy O’Toole’s Gentleman James, Manuel Aguilar; Padua Stable’s Carson’s Legacy, Edgar Prado; Jacqueline Tortora’s Hypocrite, Jamie Theriot; and Rose Family Stable’s Make Me Zach, Javier Santiago.
Long-Distance Invaders Indyanne & Dancing Allstar Top Azalea Field
David and Jill Heerensperger’s undefeated Indyanne arrived at Calder on Saturday via FedEx cargo flight from trainer Greg Gilchrist’s Northern California headquarters at Golden Gate Fields, and Bahadur Cheema’s Dancing Allstar is due Tuesday on the Tex Sutton Forwarding charter from New York after beginning her journey from Hastings Park near Vancouver, British Columbia and continuing through Woodbine.
The two will likely vie for favoritism with Russell Baze flying in for the mount on Indyanne and Mario Gutierrez retaining the call on Dancing Allstar for trainer Terry Jordon. Indyanne in a roan/gray daughter of Indian Charlie that has won all three of her career starts by wide margins, two last year at Bay Meadows. In her lone appearance this season, she won an allowance race at Golden Gate by seven lengths on June 6.
Dancing Allstar is a daughter of Millenium Allstar bred in British Columbia and makes her first start outside of Canada after winning eight of 10 with two seconds coast-to-coast. After a winning debut at Hastings Park last spring, she came east for a three-race campaign at Woodbine in Toronto, winning twice. Dancing Allstar has captured all three of her starts this year and comes into the Azalea with earnings of nearly $400,000.
Completing the field for the Azalea are Eagle Valley Farm’s Grand Obsession, Edgar Prado; Caroni Stable’s Orinoquia, Eduardo Nunez; Stephen Screnci’s Dite Moi, Elvis Trujillo; Four Horsemen Stable’s Freedom Afleet, Ariel Smith; and Harold Plumley’s Dubai Majesty, Manuel Aguilar.
Summit of Speed
WHEN: Saturday, July 12
* Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m.
* First race post at 12:50 p.m.
Race Stakes Estimated post time
7 $250,000 Azalea Stakes (G3) 3:30 p.m.
8 $250,000 Carry Back Stakes (G2) 3:58 p.m.
9 $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) 4:26 p.m.
10 $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) 4:54 p.m.
WHERE: Calder Race Course
21001 NW 27th Avenue (University Drive)
Miami Gardens, Florida 33056
(On the Miami-Dade / Broward county line…Just north of Dolphin Stadium)
HOW MUCH: Adult admission prices: Grandstand Admission: $3; Clubhouse: $5.
Children 17 and under are always admitted free when accompanied by an adult.