While Saturday’s racing program from Calder Casino & Race Course will feature a pair of stakes in the $55,000 Whippleton and the $55,000 Our Dear Peggy, the 12-race card will also allow for starter allowance horses to chase a rich $50,000 purse as the Tropical Starter Series open division gets underway with eight horses scheduled to do battle in the opening leg with Frank C. Calabrese’s Bull Dozer installed as the 2-1 morning-line favorite for the 6 ½-furlong dash.
Claimed by trainer Luis Ramirez for $25,000 in mid-May, Bull Dozer has rewarded his new connections nicely, finishing second in the $75,000 Ponche Handicap before returning to post a pair of starter allowance victories, prevailing by three lengths in his second start back and most recently winning by 4 ½ lengths.
In addition to his recent string of successes, Bull Dozer has a history of strong performances over the Calder main track as the son of Trippi has won nine times in 17 tries while hitting the board on 14 occasions.
Jockey Manoel Cruz, aboard Bull Dozer for each of his two recent triumphs, returns to the saddle for Saturday’s leg-one tilt.
New Life Stable, Inc. and Equus Racing Stable’s Abdel’s Ghost looks the main threat to Bull Dozer’s Starter Series supremacy Saturday when starting for trainer Jerry Procino and jockey Luis Saez.
Abdel’s Ghost is a four-time winner in eight starts this year, including a four-length allowance victory at Calder in mid-June. The son of Black Mambo has since returned to contest the $55,000 Giant Ryan Stakes where he finished second, crossing the wire ahead of Close It Out, who is expected to go as one of the top choices in the Whippleton earlier in the day.
Equels Marro Racing, LLC’s Westbound Train, a winner of two straight main track races prior to a sixth-place run in the grassy Eillo Stakes, will also line up as a logical choice in Saturday’s Starter Series race.
The first leg of the Tropical Starter Series will go as the 10th race on Saturday. The series continues with a 7 ½-furlong turf heat on September 29 before concluding over one mile of dirt on October 27. Each race in the series carries a $50,000 purse, with a $5,000 bonus awarded to the trainer of the horse that has accumulated the most points upon conclusion of the series.
SAEZ WINS FOUR
For the second time in just four days of racing at the Tropical Meet, jockey Luis Saez enjoyed a four-win day on Thursday, laying the early foundation for what appears to be a runaway campaign for leading rider.
Saez got his afternoon off to a winning start when taking the Thursday opener aboard Jade’s Rainbow for trainer Bill White. Saez then finished his day of work with three straight victories, visiting the winner’s circle after guiding the Jose Garoffalo-trained Colormesaichi under the wire first in race seven, the Ron Spatz-conditioned Joy of the Toy in race eight, and the Dave Fawkes-schooled Rhythm of the Moon in the nightcap.
With his quartet of Thursday triumphs, Saez entered the Friday program with 11 wins from 25 starters at the Tropical Meet, which began Saturday, September 1, a day that also saw Saez win four races, including the $75,000 Darn That Alarm Handicap with Cash Rules.
Saez, leading rider at the Calder Meet in 2012, 2011, and 2010, won the Tropical riding title for the first time last season.
WEDNESDAY RACING ALTERS DRAW SCHEDULE
With a five-day race week set to begin when live racing commences on Wednesday, September 12, the draw schedule in the Calder racing office has undergone a slight makeover for the remainder of the Tropical Meet.
Changes to the schedule include entries for Wednesday races to be taken on Friday, with the racing office to be closed Monday and Tuesday before reopening to take entries for Saturday’s races on Wednesday.
Thursday races will be drawn on Saturday, Friday races will be drawn on Sunday, and Sunday races will be drawn on Thursday, as per the usual schedule.