Frank C. Calabrese’s graded stakes winner Where’s Sterling, Jessica Colon’s Miami Mile Handicap hero Imperial Czar, and Larry Fugate’s Sumter Stakes conqueror Cash Rules headline a field of eight that will assemble on the Calder Casino & Race Course main track Monday for the 38th running of the $75,000 Memorial Day Handicap, contested at 1 1/16 miles.
Trained by Luis Ramirez, Where’s Sterling finished fourth when beaten three lengths in last year’s Memorial Day Handicap, but that effort proved a springboard for future success as the son of Northern Afleet followed that performance with a win in the Grade 3 Phillip Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Where’s Sterling then returned with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup where he was beaten a half-length for everything and a fourth-place run in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap where he came up 3 ½ lengths shy of Grade 1 glory.
Last seen finishing a distant fourth in the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap in late March, Where’s Sterling will start from post four in the Memorial Day Handicap and will be ridden by John Delgado.
A six-time winner in 18 starts on the Calder main track, Imperial Czar enjoyed the biggest win of his career when splashing home first in an off-the-turf renewal of the $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap in his last start. The Saul Matos trainee enters the Memorial Day Handicap on a two-race winning streak, having prevailed in a starter allowance at Gulfstream Park prior to his Miami Mile score.
Assigned post three at Friday’s post-position draw, Imperial Czar will again be piloted by Jesus Rios, who is unbeaten aboard the son of Imperialism.
A promising gelding plagued by health issues early in his career, Cash Rules captured his first stakes victory when winning the $55,000 Sumter at Calder on May 5.
Trained by Dave Fawkes, the son of Peace Rules, missed all of 2011 and the Memorial Day Handicap, where he will start from post seven under jockey Luis Saez, will be the gelding’s fourth start off a 15-month hiatus.
Other notables amongst the Memorial Day Handicap field include Stipa Racing Stable, Inc.’s Numb Lips, second to Imperial Czar in the Miami Mile Handicap, and Ione and Herbert Elkins’ Dream Maestro, most recently third to Cash Rules in the Sumter.
The Memorial Day Handicap will go as the eighth race on a special nine-race Monday card at Calder, with an approximate post time of 4:04 p.m. First race post time is 12:55 p.m.