Headlined by nominations of out-of-towners from coast-to-coast, as well as the top sprinters in south Florida, the Summit of Speed at Calder Casino & Race Course looks strong in its 13th renewal on Saturday, July 6.
Calder’s Summit of Speed is comprised of six stakes with purses totaling $1,200,000: the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Stakes, the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap, the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes, the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes, and the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Stakes.
PRINCESS ROONEY HANDICAP
The $350,000 Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap, to be held at 6 furlongs for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, drew 22 nominees.
Headlining the horses that would be shipping in from out-of-state for the race is trainer Wesley A. Ward’s Judy the Beauty. The 4-year-old filly has not finished worse than second in nine lifetime starts. In her two previous Grade 1 appearances, Judy the Beauty finished second, crossing the wire 1 ¾-lengths behind in the Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in 2011, and missing a victory by just a nose in the Prioress Stakes at Saratoga in 2012.
Aubby K earned her first Grade 1 victory for trainer Ralph Nicks in the Humana Distaff Stakes at Churchill Downs in May after scoring in the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March. Spectacular Sky finished second to Aubby K in the Inside Information for trainer Martin D. Wolfson, and has back-to-back stakes wins at Calder on her resume from last year, which came in the Barb’s Dancer Stakes and the Whippleton Stakes.
Trainer Herman Wilensky’s Capitalism At Risk won the local prep race for the Princess Rooney, the U Can Do It Handicap, and is currently on a five-race winning streak. The 3-year-old filly R Free Roll flew to victory against the boys in the Unbridled Stakes for trainer Ralph Ziadie, cruising to an impressive 6 ¾-length score over her competitors to earn her first career stakes win. She is also nominated for the Azalea Stakes, which is strictly for 3-year-old fillies, and the Carry Back Stakes for 3-year-olds.
SMILE SPRINT HANDICAP
Twenty-seven horses were nominated for the 6-furlong $350,000 Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap for 3-year-olds and up, which is a “Win and You’re In” race as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge for the sprint division.
From California, trainer Bob Baffert has three nominees – Grade 1 winner Drill, Grade 3 winner Castaway, and the 3-year-old Declassify, who is 2-for-2 in his young career and who is also nominated for the Carry Back. Trainer Richard E. Mandella’s Jimmy Creed scored back-to-back stakes wins at Santa Anita Park, earning his first stakes victory in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes before taking the Grade 2 Potrero Grande Stakes. Trainer Peter Miller’s Grade 1 winner Comma to the Top comes off of back-to-back stakes victories at Hollywood Park in May.
Trainer Thomas M. Amoss has the 6-year-old gelding Delaunay nominated. He has won his last six races in Louisiana and Kentucky and is 3-for-3 in 2013 with his most recent victory coming in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes at Churchill. Trainer Roger A. Brueggemann’s Signsealndeliver comes off of back-to-back stakes victories earned at Hawthorne Race Course then Canterbury Park. He also has Work All Week nominated.
Trainer Steven M. Asmussen has multiple graded stakes winner Justin Phillip nominated. He most recently finished second in the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont Park. Trainer Martin D. Wolfson’s Swagger Jack upset the Grade 1 Carter Handicap two starts ago at Aqueduct Racetrack and is also nominated for the Smile Sprint.
As for the local stars, trainer Stanley Gold has three nominees, while Bisnath Parboo and David Fawkes have two runners each who are nominated.
Last year’s Carry Back winner Fort Loudon returned to Gold’s barn in order to prepare and run in the Smile Sprint after racing in his last 10 starts since the Carry Back for trainer Nick Zito. Jackson Bend, who came out of retirement to race the 2013 season with Gold, finished fifth in the Ponche Handicap in his first start since his return. The Ponche is the local prep race for the Smile Sprint. Grande Shores, Jackson Bend’s younger half-brother, finished third while closing in the Ponche.
Eclipse Award Champion Sprinter of 2012 and runner-up in last year’s Carry Back Stakes, Trinniberg, won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint but has yet to enter the winner’s circle in 2013 for Parboo. Stakes winner Off the Jak is also nominated for Parboo. Apriority returned to the Fawkes barn after running for Baffert in California. He has not won since earning his first career stakes victory in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream in 2011. His younger half-brother Bahamian Squall finished fourth in the Ponche after leading throughout much of the race then fading.
Trainer Larry Bates’ Black Diamond Cat, winner of the Ponche, and Ponche runner-up Close It Out, for trainer Steve Towne, are also nominated.
Twenty-three 3-year-old fillies were attracted to the 6-furlong $150,000 Grade 3 Azalea Stakes.
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Fusaichiswonderful overtook competitors and fellow Azalea nominees R Free Roll and trainer David Fawkes’ Vitameta to draw increasingly clear ahead of the field in the Primal Force Stakes at Gulfstream in March to win by 5 ¾-lengths. Last year as a 2-year-old, Fusaichiswonderful went undefeated in five starts at Camarero Race Track in Puerto Rico before being transferred to Pletcher. Her victories at Camarero included the Grade 1 Accion de Gracias, two Grade 2 scores and a Grade 3 victory. She most recently finished second in the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Blueeyestherein is 4-for-5 in her career for trainer Garry W. Simms, with victories including the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes at Churchill last June and the Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn Park in April. Trainer Ronny W. Werner’s Guadalupe High scored back-to-back stakes wins at Delta Downs earlier this year, including a 6 ¼-length score in the La. Bred Premier Night Starlet Stakes. Trainer George Weaver’s Lighthouse Bay also has two stakes wins in her career, one of which came in her most recent start in the Jostle Stakes at Parx Racing. Flower Spell, for trainer Ingrid Mason, also comes off of a stakes win with a 6-length runaway score in the Meafara Stakes at Arlington Park.
Eight out of 12 runners from the local prep for the Azalea, the Leave Me Alone Stakes, were all nominated to the Azalea, including the top four finishers: trainer Manuel J. Azpurua’s Wildcat Lily, who scored 4-lengths ahead of the field, trainer Kirk Ziadie’s Dreaming of Sophia, Street Girl, who is also trained by Manuel J. Azpurua, and trainer William A. Kaplan’s Putitinmypocket.
CARRY BACK STAKES
The 6-furlong Grade 3 $150,000 Carry Back Stakes for 3-year-olds has 16 nominees.
Trainer Jorge Lara’s Lattin Devil scored back-to-back stakes victories at Evangeline Downs in his most recent starts and is 4-for-7 lifetime with one second and one third-place finish. He has never raced outside of the state of Louisiana. Trainer Steve Asmussen nominated both stakes winner Amarish and stakes-placed Mico Margarita for the Carry Back.
The top five finishers in the Unbridled Stakes, which is the local prep race for the Carry Back, are all nominated for the Carry Back. Trainer Rowan Dixon’s Rockyshomerun raced with the dominating R Free Roll into the stretch and held on for second from the trainer Antonio Sano’s City of Weston, who closed for third. Trainer Luis Olivares’ Sr. Quisqueyano and trainer Herman Wilensky’s Anillo followed.
HOLLYWOOD WILDCAT STAKES
The $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes, to be run at 7 ½-furlongs on the turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, drew 27 nominees.
Defending Hollywood Wildcat winner Callmethesqueeze is nominated again for the race for trainer Manuel J. Azpurua. Last year, she scored 6 lengths ahead of the field. Local rivals Awesome Belle and Frolic’s Revenge, trained by Stanley Gold and Milton W. Wolfson, respectively, are also nominated. In 10 lifetime meetings between the two, Awesome Belle has been to the winner’s circle five times, while Frolic’s Revenge has scored two first-place finishes. Each of their wins in these meetings came at Calder, and all but one were in stakes races.
Trainers Michael J. Maker and Martin D. Wolfson nominated four horses each, while trainers Wesley A. Ward and Kirk Ziadie nominated two apiece for the Hollywood Wildcat.
BOB UMPHREY TURF SPRINT STAKES
Twenty-one horses were drawn to the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Stakes, to be run at 5 furlongs on the turf.
Trainer Steve Asmussen’s Regally Ready is a Grade 1-winner who also has one Grade 2 and two Grade 3 victories under his belt. His last stakes victory came in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill in 2011. Fellow Asmussen nominee Rothko is a Grade 3 winner. Next Question, for trainer Michael J. Trombetta, is also a Grade 1 winner, which came in the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in 2012. Trainer Cam M. Gambolati’s Madame Giry scored back-to-back stakes wins in 2012.
Great Attack is a Grade 3 winner for trainer Wesley A. Ward who has not run since the Grade 1 Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai in March. He won the Turf Dash Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in 2012 and 2013. Trainer Christophe Clement’s Varsity is a multiple stakes winner who also raced in the Al Quoz Sprint. In the John McSorley Stakes at Monmouth Park in his first race since returning from Dubai, he finished fourth.