Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Awesome Belle and Stride Rite Racing Stable, Inc.’s Frolic’s Revenge, separated by three-quarters of a length when the respective top-two finishers in last month’s Three Ring Stakes, will renew hostilities in Saturday’s $75,000 Crystal Rail Stakes, to be run at the distance of 7 ½ furlongs on the Calder Casino & Race Course turf.
Trained by Stanley Gold, Awesome Belle put the brakes on a nine-race losing streak when besting Frolic’s Revenge in the Three Ring, which was contested on the Calder main track. Prior to that winning performance, the daughter of Awesome Belle had not visited the winner’s circle since her career-defining victory in the $300,000 My Dear Girl Division of the 2011 Florida Stallion Stakes.
Awesome Belle has been on turf just twice in her career, with neither outing producing a fruitful result as the homebred daughter of Awesome of Course finished eighth in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes prior to a sixth-place performance in the $100,000 Calder Oaks, a race that was won by Frolic’s Revenge.
Awesome Belle, a half-sister to the multiple turf-stake winner Bayou’s Lassie, drew post two for the Crystal Rail and will be ridden by Fernando Jara.
The Milt Wolfson-trained Frolic’s Revenge looked to be the uncontested leader of the 3-year-old filly division at Calder prior to her near-miss in the Three Ring. The daughter of Lindsay Frolic entered that affair with three straight stakes wins at the meet, having taken the sword to her rivals in both the Calder Oaks and the $55,000 Sweettrickydancer on turf, along with a 17-length main-track triumph in the $55,000 Regal Gal.
Frolic’s Revenge will look to regain her footing as the leading local sophomore filly when starting from post 11 on Saturday with jockey Luis Saez in the saddle.
Other entrants of note in the Crystal Rail include Virginia and James Gamble’s Montessa G, beaten a nose by Frolic’s Revenge in the Sweettrickydancer before returning to finish fifth as the favorite in the $55,000 Ms Brookski; Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Redbud Road, a three-time local stakes winner that exits a third-place performance in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, and Harold Queen’s Queen Drama, a Florida Stallion Stakes heroine from 2011 that finished fifth in her only start this season.
Completing the field for the race is Kathleen Amaya’s For the Win, Caroni Stable’s Eleven Moons, Michael Sebastian’s Imperial Strike, A R S Racing Stable’s Jazz, Cairoli Racing Stable, Vicente Stella Stables, LLC, and Amin Saiden’s Sinister Tale, and the Peter Vegso-owned pair of Obrigeta and Refining.
The co-feature race at Calder on Saturday is the $75,000 Naked Greed Stakes, a 3-year-old stake that will also be contested over 7 ½ furlongs of turf and has drawn a field of 10.
Luis Duco Stable, Inc.’s Empire Builder looks to be the leading contender in the Naked Greed, although the son of Kitten’s Joy exits a puzzlingly poor performance in the $55,000 El Kaiser Stakes where he finished last of five, beaten 14 ¼ lengths by runaway winner Csaba. Prior to that outing, the colt had posted consecutive stakes triumphs, winning both the $55,000 American Dreamer Stakes and the $55,000 Mambo Meister.
While each of those three races was run over the Calder main track, Empire Builder will return to turf for the Naked Greed. The Luis Duco trainee is unbeaten in two starts over the local lawn, and boasts a third-place finish in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream where he was bested by the highly-regarded pair of Howe Great and Lucky Chappy to go along with a close sixth in the $100,000 Dania Beach where he was 2 ½ lengths shy of leading 3-year-old turf horse Summer Front.
Empire Builder will start from post nine in the Naked Greed and will be ridden by Jonathan Gonzales.
While no other runner in the Naked Greed can match Empire Builder’s résumé to date, an intriguing option in the race could be Christine Garrity and Anthony Amante’s Mr. Espresso, a rapidly developing son of Put It Back. The Bill White-trained colt has found the wire first in three of his last four starts, including two straight, and owns two wins over the Calder turf.
Mr. Espresso drew post three for the Naked Greed and will be piloted by leading local rider Saez.
Trainer Stanley Gold will saddle a pair of Jacks of Better Farm, Inc. homebred colts in the Naked Greed as both Argentine Tango and Harrison Bay are scheduled to start. The former is a 17-race veteran that missed by a neck when an unlucky third on the Calder turf in his last, while the latter exits a stunning 25 ¼-length maiden win over a sloppy track in his last, which was just his fourth career start.
Other notable runners entered in the Naked Greed are Chester A. Bishops’s Dreaming of Danny, a recently claimed winner of three straight; Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti’s Musical Flair, winner of the Fasig-Tipton Turf Dash at Calder last year; and Gary Aiken’s Kings Over, who has won two straight.
Completing the field is A and V Investments, Inc.’s El Romano, Rohan Crichton’s All Knight, and Joseph Balsamo’s Bellefire.
First race post time at Calder on Saturday is 12:55 p.m. The Naked Greed is scheduled as the ninth race on the 12-race program with an approximate post time of 4:43, while the Crystal Rail will go as the 11th race of the day at 5:42 p.m.