With the Grade 3 Miami Mile on Saturday serving as a mid-April showcase for colts and geldings on the grass, the fillies and mares of south Florida will try and outshine their male counterparts in Friday’s featured 10th race, a one-mile turf allowance that has attracted a stellar group of eight, six of which are stakes winners; the other two stakes-placed.
“There’s no question it came up tough,” Milt Wolfson, trainer of Trip for A. J., said. “They’re all going to have to show up, aren’t they?”
A two-time stakes winner over the Calder turf course, Trip for A. J. was beaten a troubled neck when second in the Grade 3 My Charmer in her last appearance over the local lawn. But in her four subsequent starts, all on the Gulfstream grass, the mare has faltered.
“I’ll be much happier leading her over from her stall than I was shipping,” Wolfson said. “A couple of those mornings, when we had to send her to Gulfstream, it was hot, and going on the van and such, I think it affected her.”
Trip for A. J. didn’t perform to her usual standards in any of those races, and in her last start the daughter of Trippi suffered the worst defeat of her career when last of eight in the $70,000 Wait a While Stakes.
“She hit the rail (on the turn) pretty bad that day,” Wolfson said. “She was a little sore in the shoulder the next day. But that’s long over and she’s training great. She’ll get a chance to run her race on Friday.”
Trip for A. J. will find a familiar foe in Friday’s feature as Romacaca, who bested Trip for A. J. by 1 ½ lengths when those two met in last year’s $55,000 Sara’s Success on Calder turf, makes her first start under the care of new trainer Luis Ramirez.
A 12-time winner from 26 lifetime starts, Romacaca is the lone graded stakes winner in Friday’s feature with a Grade 3 triumph in last year’s Matchmaker at Monmouth Park on her résumé.
The unknown factor in the Friday feature is the unbeaten Panamanian import Amor de Palacio, who has yet to be defeated in 12 career starts and will make her domestic debut for trainer Marty Wolfson.
The Florida-bred daughter of Cashel Castle tallied her signature wins to date in the Group 1 Clásico Dia de la Madre at Hipódromo Presidente Remón in December and the prestigious Copa Internacional Sprinters Yeguas at the Hipódromo La Rinconada in Venezuela last August.
Other stakes winners in the field include Island Time, winner of the $100,000 Desert Vixen on the Monmouth Park turf in 2010; Prize Informant, who won the $55,000 Regal Gal on Calder dirt last May; and Callmethesqueeze, the 2011 heroine of the $75,000 Judy’s Red Shoes over the Calder green.
The stakes-placed participants in the Friday feature are Performing, third to Romacaca and Trip for A. J. in last year’s Sara’s Success, and Snow Trial, runner-up in last year’s $55,000 Ms Brookski. Approximate post time is 5:10 p.m.
30 SOPHOMORE FILLIES NOMINATE TO CALDER OAKS
Absent from the Calder stakes schedule last year, the $100,000 Calder Oaks returns for its 21st running on Saturday, April 28. Nominations for the 1 1/16-mile turf test closed earlier this week with 30 fillies eyeing a potential start in the race.
Leading the list of nominees is White Hall Lane Farm’s Citizen Advocate, a winner in four of her nine career starts including victories in the $75,000 Catcharisingstar Stakes on the Calder turf last year and the $150,000 My Trusty Cat on the Delta Downs dirt in October.
Trained by Dave Vivian, Citizen Advocate has yet to visit the winner’s circle in 2012, although she has been far from disgraced in either of her starts, finishing third in the $75,000 Allen LaCombe Memorial Stakes over the Fair Grounds grass before crossing the wire second in the $75,000 Sophomore Fillies on the main track at Tampa.
Other notable Calder Oaks nominees include $60,000 Ginger Brew winner Frolic’s Revenge, $60,000 Madcap Escapade winner Sabrina’s Dance, and a trio of graded stakes winners from the barn of Todd Pletcher, Disposablepleasure, Georgie’s Angel, and In Lingerie, none of which has won on turf.
Entries for the $100,000 Calder Oaks will be taken on Monday, April 23. For a complete list of nominations, along with past performances, visit www.calderracecourse.com.
RODRIGUEZ DOUBLES TO TOP EARLY TABLE
Through five days of racing, a somewhat surprising name occupies the top spot in the Calder jockey standings as Joe Rodriguez, who won two races on the Sunday card, leads the way with six victories from 19 starts.
A native of Puerto Rico and a graduate of that country’s Escuela Vocacional Hipica in Canovanas, Rodriguez couldn’t crack the top 25 at the 2011 Calder Meet, winning just nine times in 146 starts, but rebounded to enjoy moderate success at the Tropical Meet, finishing seventh in the standings with 18 victories from 110 mounts.
Rodriguez wintered at Aqueduct where he tallied 13 wins which placed him second amongst apprentice riders at the time of his late-March departure.
For his early-season accomplishments, Rodriguez will be recognized as Jockey of the Month for April on Saturday.