When trainer Phil Gleaves saddled Csaba for the $55,000 Mambo Meister Stakes on May 26, the conditioner had added motivation to win the race as it was named in memory of his fallen stable star. But Csaba was unable provide the appropriate storybook ending that day, finishing second but placed third for interfering with another rival on the turn, and both colt and trainer will seek redemption when starting in the $75,000 El Kaiser Stakes at Calder on Saturday.
“We’ve got to put what happened that day behind us,” Gleaves said. “Things didn’t go our way and all we can do is move on and expect better from our horse this time around. He’s coming up to the race in great shape, and we expect him to run well.”
Csaba hasn’t started since the Mambo Meister, but the colt tuned-up for Saturday’s return with a half-mile workout on July 14 where he covered a half-mile in :48.20, the fourth fastest of 75 moves at the distance that day.
“We breezed him the last three-eighths in company with another horse of mine and I thought he came home in a good time,” Gleaves said. “And he was back at the barn that morning acting like he hadn’t done all that much, so I’m happy with the way he’s coming up to the race.”
Csaba’s chief rival in the El Kaiser is Empire Builder, a Luis Duco-trained colt that is a two-time stakes winner at the meet, defeating Csaba in the Mambo Meister before coming back to win the $55,000 American Dreamer Stakes on June 30.
“We’ve run into him a few times and we know him well,” Gleaves said of Empire Builder. “He’s a good horse that ran his race when we last met, and we expect he’ll run his race again Saturday.”
Over the last few months, Csaba and Empire Builder have met on four occasions with each horse holding a decision: Empire Builder in the Mambo Meister and Csaba with a 5 ¾-length allowance victory on May 26. The two colts also met in the $150,000 Calder Derby and the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park. In both races Csaba finished fifth and Empire Builder was sixth.
The El Kaiser will go as the ninth race on a 12-race Saturday program that also features the $75,000 Three Ring Stakes for 3-year-old fillies and the $55,000 Primal Stakes for older horses.
AZALEA RUNNER-UP TO MAKE NEXT START AT PENN NATIONAL
White Hall Lane Farm’s Citizen Advocate, runner-up to Another Romance in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, is scheduled aboard a van to Pennsylvania this weekend where she will run in one of two stakes races at Penn National on July 27, either the $75,000 Femme Fatale Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs, or the $100,000 Jenny Wade Handicap, for fillies and mares run at five-eighths on the turf.
“We’ll probably go ahead and enter both races, and then decide what to do from there,” assistant trainer Dave Vivian, Jr. said. “She came out of her last race awesome, and there really isn’t a race for her here, so we decided to ship. We’ve had success doing that before, so why not travel again.”
Citizen Advocate journeyed to Presque Isle Downs and Delta Downs last year where she won both the $150,000 Presque Isle Debutante and the $150,000 My Trusty Cat.
Vivian said that jockey Juan Leyva, aboard Citizen Advocate when second in the $75,000 Leave Me Alone Stakes, would make the trip to Pennsylvania to ride.