A field of eight 2-year-olds, led by the triumvirate of David Melin and Laurie Plesa’s Grade 3 Sapling Stakes winner Brave Dave, Rosa Taveras’ Seacliff Stakes hero Sr. Quisqueyano, and Gilbert Campbell’s two-time stakes conqueror Two T’s At Two B, will line up for a strong renewal of the $100,000 Birdonthewire Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course Saturday.
Trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr., Brave Dave made his career debut at Calder in late June, scoring a 1 ¼-length front-running victory. The son of Put It Back was subsequently shipped north where he ran a respectable fourth in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga before returning to post a three-quarter length win in the Sapling at Monmouth Park.
Paco Lopez, who was aboard Brave Dave in each of his last two starts, will return to Calder, where he won the 2008 Calder Meet riding title, to retain the mount aboard the colt, who has drawn post seven for the six-furlong dash.
Drawn directly to the outside of Brave Dave in post eight is the Luis Olivares-trained colt Sr. Quisqueyano, who rolled to victories in each of his first three starts by a combined 28 ¾ lengths, including a 13 ¾-length win in the Seacliff Stakes, prior to an upset defeat when second in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes.
After two straight outings around two turns, the son of Exclusive Quality cuts back to a sprint for Saturday’s stake, where he will be ridden again by jockey Jozbin Santana.
Two T’s At Two B was every bit as impressive as Sr. Quisqueyano when winning his first three starts by a combined 16 ¼ lengths and was every bit as disappointing as that rival when third in the Affirmed Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes in his last outing.
A two-time stakes winner with victories in the Dr. Fager Division of the Stallion Stakes and the Frank Gomez Memorial, the Kathleen O’Connell conditioned Two T’s At Two B will be guided from post four in the Birdonthewire by Eduardo Nunez.
Campbell and O’Connell will also be represented in the Birdonthewire by Too Fast to Pass, last seen finishing second in the Fasig Tipton Dash to Itsmyluckyday, who returned to defeat Sr. Quisqueyano in the Foolish Pleasure.
Other notables in the field include Amaty Racing Stables, Inc. and Sterling Stables, Inc.’s Mind Spell, a seven-length maiden winner in his last start, and Herman Van Den Broeck’s Singanothersong, who could do no better than fourth in the Seacliff but was beaten just 1 ¼ lengths by Brave Dave in his career debut.
While the Birdonthewire is top-heavy with proven stakes talent, its filly companion race, the $100,000 Cassidy Stakes, drew a field of 10 that proves a microcosm of this year’s 2-year-old filly division at Calder where, outside of two-time stakes winner Rose to Gold, no filly has truly distinguished herself from the group.
Elsaida and Easton DeSouza’s Candy Coded Kisses, the lone stakes winner in the Cassidy field, looks to be the nominal leader of the group that will assemble Saturday having posted a four-length Stallion Stakes victory two outings ago. In her most recent trip to the track, the daughter of Omega Code was no match for a runaway winner when second in the Susan’s Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
Candy Coded Kisses will start from post six in the Cassidy with Cecilio Penalba to ride.
Among those expected to challenge Candy Coded Kisses in the Cassidy is Frank C. Calabrese’s highly-regarded Dreaming of Sophia, a 6 ¼-length maiden winner in her last start; Monsan Racing Partnership, LLC’s unbeaten two-time winner Touch Magic; and Luis Rogers’ Magical Madam, a maiden winner in his career debut that has since returned to finish fourth in the Catcharisingstar Stakes.
In addition to two juvenile stakes, the Saturday card at Calder will also feature the second leg of the Tropical Starter Series, a 7 ½-furlong turf event that has drawn a full field of 12 with four horses listed as also-eligible for the race.
First race post time at Calder Saturday is 12:30 p.m., with the Birdonthewire scheduled as race nine at approximately 4:15 p.m. with the Cassidy to follow as race 10 at 4:45 p.m. and the Tropical Starter Series second leg as race 11 at 5:16 p.m.