Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s Csaba, listed as a probable starter for next week’s $75,000 El Kaiser Stakes, and Luis Duco Stables, Inc.’s Empire Builder, viewed as possible for the one mile and 70-yard test, both took to the Calder main track on Saturday to put forth half-mile works, with Csaba covering the trip in :48.40 and Empire Builder stopping the timer in :49.80.
“It was a nice easy work,” Phil Gleaves, trainer of Csaba, reported Saturday morning. “We breezed him the last three-eighths in company with another horse of mine, Miami Cat, and they went the last quarter in :23. He came back in good shape, we’re happy, and we’ll be entering on Monday.”
Over the last few months, Csaba and Empire Builder have met on four occasions, with each horse holding one decision. Csaba won an allowance race at Calder on May 26, while Empire Builder tallied his triumph two weeks later winning the $55,000 Mambo Meister Stakes.
“We’ve certainly 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. All we can do is move on from that, and expect better from our horse next weekend.”
In the Mambo Meister, Csaba crossed the wire second behind Empire Builder but was disqualified to third for causing interference on the turn. Empire Builder has since returned to win the $55,000 American Dreamer on June 30 where he was 4 ¾ lengths better than runner-up Ravelo’s Boy, who is also likely for the El Kaiser.
Csaba and Empire Builder also met in the $150,000 Calder Derby and the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes on turf at Gulfstream, and in both races Csaba finished fifth and Empire Builder was sixth.
THREE ADDITIONAL EL KAISER WORKERS
An additional trio of possible El Kaiser starters made five-furlong tours of the Calder dirt Saturday morning as trainer Agustin Bezara worked the rapidly developing colt Azafran in 1:05.60, Steve Dwoskin sent out Niam’s Strike to cover the distance in 1:02, and trainer Manny Carrasco’s El Kaiser hopeful Two Is To Many clocked in at 1:05.60.
408 RETAIN ELIGIBILITY TO 2012 STALLIONS STAKES
According to Florida Stallion Stakes coordinator Donna Galati, a total of 408 juvenile horses have retained eligibility for the 2012 series, which begins with the $75,000 estimated Dr. Fager division and the $75,000 estimated Desert Vixen division, restricted to fillies, on July 28.
The most prolific stallion among the list is Put It Back, who has sired 32 of the 408 eligible horses. Next on the list is veteran stallion Wildcat Heir and 2011 leading Florida freshman sire High Cotton, both with 19 nominees. First-crop sire Cowtown Cat is represented on the list by 18 of his offspring.
Awesome of Course, who sired five of the six Stallion Stakes winners in 2011, has just six horses eligible for the 2012 Stallion Stakes.
The Florida Stallion Stakes will continue with the Affirmed and Susan’s Girl divisions as part of the annual Juvenile Showcase on August 25, before culminating with the In Reality and My Dear Girl divisions on the October 13 Festival of the Sun card.
GONZALES TALLIES CAREER WIN 40
Jockey Jonathan Gonzales won the 40th race of his career when taking Saturday’s fourth race with Red Hills. With that victory, Gonzales, currently third in the race for leading jockey, is now a five-pound apprentice.