A strong April stakes schedule at Calder Casino & Race Course will commence with the return of the $150,000 Calder Derby, a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds on turf that was last held in 2010. Unbeaten Summer Front, from the barn of two-time Calder Derby winning conditioner Christophe Clement, tops the list of 36 nominations received for the 2012 running, to be contested Saturday, April 14.
Owned by Waterford Stable, Summer Front exits a winning performance in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park on December 18 where the colt overcame a poor start to post a 1 ½-length victory over last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf favorite Finale and Juvenile Turf runner-up Excaper. Prior to that effort, the son of War Front captured the $60,000 King Cugat at Aqueduct in November and a maiden race at Belmont Park in September.
Clement, who won the 2009 Calder Derby with Sal the Barber and captured the 2008 edition with Sporting Art, has also nominated recent turf-allowance winner Easy Crossing to this year’s renewal, along with turf-maiden winner Malibu Way.
A quintet of quality 3-year-olds from the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher has been nominated to the Calder Derby, including GDS Racing Stable’s Star Channel, a two-time turf winner at the current Gulfstream Park meet that broke his maiden on December 8 before returning to post an entry-level allowance victory on January 8.
Other Pletcher nominees include Grade 3 Spiral Stakes third-place finisher Heavy Breathing, Grade 3 Sunland Derby fifth-place finisher Ender Knievel, and maiden winner English Major. Our Entourage, also nominated to the Calder Derby by Pletcher, is scheduled to start in this Saturday’s Grade 3 Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Racecourse.
Trainer Phil Gleaves has nominated Bruce Hollander’s Csaba to the Calder Derby. A two-time winner at Calder last year, the son of Kitten’s Joy exits a third-place performance in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes where he finished just behind aspiring Kentucky Derby hopefuls Howe Great and Dullahan. Prior to that effort, the colt crossed the wire sixth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and was a close fifth in the Dania Beach.
Other Calder Derby nominees of note include Argentine Tango, a Stanley Gold trainee that was fourth in the Palm Beach; Empire Builder, the third-place finisher in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy for trainer Luis Duco; and the Daniel Pita-trained Hello Prince, second in the Grade 3 Swale in his most recent start.
Entries for the Calder Derby will be taken Monday, April 9. For a complete list of nominees, along with past performances, visit www.calderracecourse.com.