Two days before Ione and Herbert Elkins’ 7 ½-length Florida Stallion Stakes Susan’s Girl Division winner Putyourdreamsaway takes center stage as the expected favorite in the $300,000-estimated My Dear Girl, the final leg of the 2012 Stallion Stakes, trainer Bill Kaplan appeared confident as he walked the Calder Casino & Race Course racing office.
“I’ve looked at the race, and I think we look pretty tough in there,” Kaplan said of the nine-horse My Dear Girl. “So right now I think it’s just a matter of getting a good clean trip.”After finishing second when favored in the opening leg of this year’s Stallion Stakes, the $75,000 six-furlong Desert Vixen, the daughter of Put It Back made amends for that defeat when returning four weeks later to dominate the $125,000 Susan’s Girl, which was run at seven furlongs.
“She hasn’t missed a beat since her last race,” Kaplan said. “And everything I’ve done with her so far has been with this two-turn race in mind, so I don’t see any problem stretching her out.”
Named after the 1940s Frank Sinatra recorded song Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day), Kaplan hopes to fill the south Florida air with the melodious sounds crafted by the trio of Ruth Lowe, Paul Mann, and Stephen Weiss following the My Dear Girl.
“The song is very special to the owners, going back their engagement,” Kaplan said. “We’ve got to win the race first, but we hope to hear the bugler playing his rendition of the song Put Your Dreams Away as we’re leading the horse Putyourdreamsaway into the winner’s circle on Saturday.”
VERSO A VERSO TRIES STAKE OFF $16K CLAIM
Among the group of eight fillies that will try and silence any melodic post-race celebrations by Putyourdreamsaway following the My Dear Girl is leading owner Frank C. Calabrese’s Verso a Verso, a daughter of Circular Quay that was claimed by trainer Luis Ramirez out of her August 16 career debut for $16,000.
“That’s a first for me,” Ramirez said when asked about his experience in claiming horses for $16,000 and then running them in a $300,000 stake in their very next start. “We knew she was (Stallion Stakes) eligible when we claimed her, but we never had this race in mind. Most times, when you claim a horse, you’re hoping they run good but don’t win so you can keep the condition; you’re not thinking about a stake.”
In her career debut, when starting for trainer Daniel Pita, Verso a Verso was an easy 2 ¾-length winner when running 5 ½ furlongs over a sloppy track.
“She came back from her first race so good and the 2-year-old filly races haven’t been that tough this year, so we thought we’d give this race a shot,” Ramirez explained. “And if we get lucky and just hit the board, we make more than we would if we won an allowance.”
JOSHUA’S COMPRISE ALWAYS ON COURSE FOR IN REALITY START
There isn’t a horse entered in either of Saturday’s Stallion Stakes with the experience of Rose Family Stable’s Joshua’s Comprise, a homebred son of Comprise that will be making his 12th career start in the $300,000-estimated In Reality Division, having already competed in the first two legs of the series, finishing fourth in the Dr. Fager before a second in the Affirmed where he was beaten just a neck for everything.
“He shows up every time,” trainer Barry Rose said. “He came out of his last race in top shape and looks to be at his best heading into this race.”
A regular competitor at Calder this year that seems to hit the entry box every two or three weeks, Joshua’s Comprise exits a winning performance on September 30 where he broke his maiden in an entry-level allowance against winners, getting up in the final jump to prevail by a nose.
“We were going to run here whether we won that race or not,” Rose said of his colt’s prep for the In Reality. “But it felt good to finally get him a win. And it made things easier ahead of this race because we didn’t have to worry about him getting in (while still a maiden) if the race overfilled.”
Another thing Rose has little need to worry about in advance of the In Reality is his jockey, as Carlos Olivero, who has been aboard the colt for each of his last two starts when picking up the mount from injured Jonathan Gonzales, appears to have adapted nicely to the colt’s late-running ways.
“Jonathan had been doing such a good job on the horse that when he got hurt, he was hard to replace,” Rose said. “But I think Carlos has done well with him and he’s gotten to know him in his last two starts. The horse doesn’t have much speed from the gate, so as a rider, you have to be patient with him.
“And if you look at the times he’s really been beat, it’s been to horses that aren’t eligible for the Stallion Stakes, or it’s because the distance of the race was too short. So we’re familiar with this group of horses he’ll be facing, we think he’s at his best around two turns, and we expect him to be very competitive Saturday.”
EMPIRE BUILDER LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK IN TROPICAL PARK DERBY
In addition to the two Stallion Stakes, Calder will also host a pair of 3-year-old turf stakes on Saturday, including the $75,000 Tropical Park Derby which will feature a rematch between Mucho Mas Macho and Empire Builder, separated by a neck when the top two finishers in the $75,000 Needles Stakes on September 15.
“I thought he ran a good race, but I think he’s better than the other horse,” Empire Builder’s owner and trainer Luis Duco said when comparing the two colts on Thursday. “I think (Fernando) Jara wasn’t familiar with him and instead of taking him back, he wanted to press and go, and maybe that’s what we got caught. I’ll be sure to tell (Saturday’s jockey) Paco (Lopez) to wait with him and make one move at the quarter-pole.”
Empire Builder has drawn an outside post for the Tropical Park Derby, but Duco doesn’t believe post-position will prove a hindrance to his colt’s chances for success Saturday.
“I don’t mind the outside post at all,” Duco said. “He likes to run with the outside clear, and from the 10 you can get a good look at what the other horses are doing. Plus the race is a-mile-and-an-eighth, and I know Paco will be able to get over and save some ground at some point.”