After two legs in which 12 different horses gained at least one single point, the Tropical Starter Series will head to its October 27 conclusion as a wide-open chase for the $5,000 bonus that awaits the trainer of the series winner.
In Saturday’s second-leg, a 7 ½-furlong heat on the turf, the Humberto Toledo-trained Nineinthenine was awarded the winner’s share of six points when rallying late to prevail by 1 ½ lengths under the patient handling of jockey Luis Saez.
The win was the second straight for the 6-year-old veteran, who has prevailed in three of his last four starts after dropping 28 straight decisions following a late August 2010 victory on the Calder grass.
With his Saturday win, Nineinthenine shares the top spot in the Starter Series standings with the Luis Ramirez-trained Bull Dozer, a convincing first-leg winner on the Calder dirt, which is the surface the October 27 finale will be run over.
Finishing second to garner five points on Saturday was Steve Dwoskin’s Brother Pat, while the recent Milton Wolfson claim Riversrunrylee was a winner of four points when crossing the wire third.
Points were also awarded to the fourth, fifth, and sixth-place finishers as Runyon Humor netted three points, Bingo Bango Bongo banked two, and Barra d’Oro was a one-point earner.
Nineinthenine was a participant in the inaugural Calder Starter Series this past spring where he earned seven points to finish in a three-way tie for second, three points behind series winner Power Rules.
FAWKES WORKERS MAKE SUNDAY TAB
Having returned to Calder earlier this week after spending the last 12 weeks at Double Diamond Farm and Training Center, Donald Dizney’s promising 3-year-old colt Bahamian Squall made an appearance on the Calder main track Sunday morning, posting a half-mile workout in :51.
Trained by Dave Fawkes, Bahamian Squall was an impressive entry-level allowance winner at Calder on May 6 and was last seen locally finishing second in the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes where he was beaten by eventual Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes winner and Grade 1 King’s Bishop runner-up Fort Loudon.
While at Double Diamond, Bahamian Squall recorded three official works.
Also making an appearance for Fawkes on what was a relatively light morning of workouts was Picou, a 7-year-old that covered four furlongs in :50 as he continues comeback preparations from an extended break, having not started since a second-place finish in the November 2011 running of the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup at Calder.
Tis Rook, another Fawkes trainee, drilled a five-furlong bullet from the gate in 1:01.40. The unraced 2-year-old son of Tiznow, who has worked eight times since arriving at Calder in early August, is out of the Grade 2 stakes-placed mare Maple Syrple, making him a half-brother to Golden Century, a Group 3 winner in France, and Maple Forest, a three-time stakes winner that was Grade 3-placed.