The 14th annual Summit of Speed, featuring the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap and Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap on Saturday, July 6, and the 22nd Festival of the Sun, which includes the rich finals of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Saturday, Oct. 12, highlight the 2013 stakes program at Calder Casino & Race Course.
“We’re excited to offer a lucrative and lengthy stakes program that will give the top horses stabled at Calder, in all divisions, many opportunities to run,” Racing Secretary Mike Anifantis said. “Our stakes program offers nationally-renowned events such as the Summit of Speed, which continues to turn out champion sprinters, along with events such as the Festival of the Sun, which have proven to be both popular and profitable for our Florida horsemen.”
In addition to the Princess Rooney and the Smile Sprint, the 2013 Summit of Speed will again include the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes and the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes, with the latter having produced a Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and Eclipse Award winning champion sprinter in last year’s runner-up Trinniberg.
Long known as the signature live racing event at Calder, the Festival of the Sun also has a recent history of producing Eclipse Award winners with Awesome Feather and Big Drama both completing their sweeps of the prestigious Florida Stallion Stakes with rousing Festival of the Sun victories in the My Dear Girl Stakes and the In Reality Stakes. This year’s Festival of the Sun will also include the Tropical Park Derby and Frances A. Genter Stakes.
Both the Summit of Speed and the Festival of the Sun will feature multi-race Preview days, with the Summit of Speed Preview slated for June 8 and the Festival of the Sun Preview scheduled for Sept. 14.
For the first time in years, the Calder Derby, which will kick off the 2013 season on opening day, April 6, will be scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on dirt, with a purse increase to $250,000 accompanying the surface switch, changes that position the race as a potential prep for the Kentucky Derby.
The popular Juvenile Showcase, which last season featured a Foolish Pleasure Stakes victory by current leading Kentucky Derby prospect Itsmyluckyday, will be held for the 11th time on Saturday, Aug. 24. The Juvenile Showcase will again feature six stakes solely for 2-year-olds, with $550,000 in purse money to be given away.
The 12th edition of the Florida Million, a showcase day of racing for registered Florida-bred horses featuring eight stakes worth $1 million in purses, on Nov. 9; while a graded-stakes triple header featuring the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap, Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap, and Grade 3 Fred Hooper Handicap is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7; and a graded-stakes double, including the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap and the Grade 3 W. L. McKnight Handicap will be held on Dec. 28.
The 129-day live racing season at Calder will begin with the 76-day Calder Meet that will run from April 6 until Aug. 31. The 53-day Tropical Meet starts Sept. 1 and will continue until Dec. 29. First race post time for the Calder Meet is 12:50 p.m., with post time for the Tropical Meet set for 12:30 p.m. The 2014 Calder Meet will begin Friday, Jan. 3, with the stakes schedule to be announced later this year.