Frank C. Calabrese's Bull Dozer, claimed for $25,000 in mid-May and a winner of three straight for his new team, captured the opening leg of the Tropical Starter Series open division at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday, drawing off to a commanding 7 ½-length victory to shoot atop the points table for the three-race series.
Trained by Luis Ramirez, Bull Dozer sat contently in third through the early stages of the race before overpowering Abdel’s Ghost at the top of the stretch and then running away from that rival to post the easy win.
With his victory on Saturday, Bull Dozer earned the winner’s share of the rich $50,000 purse along with six points in the Starter Series standings, which places the gelding on top after leg one. Upon completion of the series, the trainer of the horse with the most points will receive a $5,000 bonus.
Abdel’s Ghost, trained by Jerry Procino, tallied five points when finishing second while the Manny Wayar-trained Tag Team was awarded four points when crossing the wire third. Points were also awarded to the fourth, fifth, and sixth-place finishers Smoking the Field, who netted three points; Duty Blues who banked two; and Westbound Train, a one point earner.
Bull Dozer is a 10-time winner from 25 starts in his career and is twice stakes-placed having finished third in the Eillo Stakes last year before running second in this year’s Ponche Handicap, which came in his first start for his current connections.
The Tropical Starter Series open division continues with a 7 ½-furlong turf heat on September 29 before concluding over one mile of dirt on 27.
ANOTHER FOUR WIN DAY FOR SAEZ
Leading rider Luis Saez posted his third four-win day of the young Tropical Meet on Saturday and was winning races at a 40-percent clip entering the nine-race Sunday program.
Saez, who has visited the winner’s circle with 17 of his first 42 mounts at the meet, swept the early double on Saturday, taking the opening race of the day with Royal Apollo for trainer Larry Pilotti before returning in race two with a winning run aboard Abelha Maestra for conditioner Bill White.
The Panama native then returned to prevail in the fifth race of the day with Perfect Berry for Ron Spatz before completing his winning day with the Marty Wolfson-trained Spectacular Sky in the $55,000 Whippleton Stakes.
Saez also won four races on September 1, opening day of the Tropical Meet, before coming back on Thursday, September 6, with another quartet of victories.
STAGE DOOR BETTY NOMINATIONS RELEASED
Nominations for the $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap, a 1 1/16-mile main track test for fillies and mares to be run Saturday, September 22, were released Sunday morning with 11 horses listed as possible starters for the race, led by three-time stakes winner Angelica Zapata, last seen winning the $75,000 Nancy’s Glitter on July 14 by nine lengths.
Trained by Ron Pellegrini for owner Herman Van Den Broeck, Angelica Zapata has been the runaway leader of the filly and mare distance division at Calder this year, adding triumphs in the $55,000 Emergency Nurse and the $55,000 Sara’s Success to her Nancy’s Glitter victory.
Other fillies and mares of note that were nominated to the Nancy’s Glitter include the five-time local stakes winning 3-year-old Frolic’s Revenge, graded-stakes placed Beloveda, and the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat heroine Callmethesqueeze.
Entries for the $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap will be taken in the Calder racing office on Wednesday, September 19.