While Saturday afternoon at Calder Casino & Race Course is highlighted by the 40th running of the $150,000 Calder Derby, the morning hours at the Miami Gardens track featured a half-mile work by the last Calder Derby winner Tannersville, who is being prepared for a start in next weekend’s Grade 3 Miami Mile Handicap.
“I’ve breezed him each of the last three Saturdays and he’s doing great,” trainer Henry Collazo said. “He went a half-mile in :50 1/5 and galloped out in 1:03. We’ve got him pointed towards the Miami Mile, a race we’ve been targeting since Gulfstream.”
Tannersville, a winner in seven of 26 starts, including five of 11 over the Calder turf, hasn’t started since a fifth-place finish in a top-shelf allowance over the Gulfstream green on February 18. But according to Collazo, the two-month break between that race and next Saturday’s Miami Mile was by design.
“He runs better fresh. And there was no sense throwing him to the wolves again at Gulfstream,” Collazo explained. “I gave him that race at Gulfstream where he finished fifth to Animal Kingdom, but that was just something to keep him focused. We always had this race in mind.”
In addition to his grassy win in the 2010 Calder Derby, Tannersville won the 2011 running of the Our Dear Peg, a $55,000 overnight stakes that was run over nine furlongs of Calder dirt. That versatility is surely advantageous, especially in light of the Saturday morning downpour that forced this year’s Calder Derby to the main track.
“There’s no doubt he loves the turf course here at Calder, but he loves the main track too; he even won a stake over it,” Collazo said. “So we don’t have to concern ourselves too much with whether it rains next weekend. That’s a good thing.”
Tannersville has had just four riders throughout his career, with Luis Jurado and Wilmer Galviz accounting for 23 of his 26 starts, but a new pilot is expected aboard for next Saturday’s one-mile journey.
“Eddie (Nunez) has been breezing him for a while, so we’ve got him in mind for the race,” Collazo said.
A career earner of over $245,000, Tannersville was plucked from the April 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company Two-Year-Olds in Training sale for $10,500 by current co-owner Four Horsemen Stable.
“My owner and I picked him out at the spring sale three years ago,” Collazo said. “So it’s nice to hit the nail on the head. He’s been nothing but a pleasure and he’s never had a hiccup.”
REVERON WORKS ONE MILE WITH LEXINGTON POSSIBLE TARGET
Stipa Racing Stable Inc.’s Reveron, runner-up in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, worked one mile over a sloppy track in 1:43.60 Saturday morning. Currently ranked 23rd in the graded-stakes earnings list among Kentucky Derby hopefuls, Reveron has been nominated to the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland, to be run April 21.
Trainer Agustin Bezara had initially reported that he wouldn’t run his horse again in hopes of garnering additional graded money, but stated earlier in the week that he wanted to keep all options open for the son of Songandaprayer, who will target the Preakness if he doesn’t qualify for the Derby.
BATTULA UNHARMED IN FRIDAY FALL
Apprentice rider Abby Battula escaped unscathed from a post-race spill on Friday and returned to the saddle for Saturday’s card at Calder.
“She’s fine,” agent Jay Rushing said. “She had hit her head and the EMTs were a little worried so they took her to the hospital, but she wanted to stay and ride the next race. She’ll ride today.”
Battula was sent to the main track when her mount Escandalosa fell after the completion of Friday’s seventh race. Battula was complaining of some minor head pain following the incident and was taken to nearby Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons.
Battula, a native of Bangalore, India, had an abbreviated Calder campaign in 2011, winning four races from 57 starts before moving her tack to Delaware Park in mid-June. Battula won 12 times with 109 mounts at Delaware before sustaining a compression fracture in her back in a spill at Laurel Park in September.
“The plan is to stay down here this year,” Rushing said. “She won’t be going north this summer.”