Lost amidst the four Summit Preview Day stakes held at Calder Casino & Race Course on Saturday was Angelica Zapata’s win in the $55,000 Emergency Nurse, a victory that was the daughter of Sharp Humor’s second stakes win at the meeting and a precursor to a possible run in either the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat on turf July 7 or the $75,000 Nancy’s Glitter on dirt July 14.
“We’ll go ahead and nominate to both of those races, the turf stake and then the dirt one a week later,” trainer Ron Pellegrini said. “Then as it gets closer to the race, we’ll go ahead and make a decision. I think she may be a little better on turf, so I’d like to get her on the grass again, but she’ll go either way; turf or dirt, short or long, it doesn’t really matter with her.”
In the Emergency Nurse, Angelica Zapata made a strong move on the turn to make the lead and seemed poised to draw away and win by open lengths. But once the filly hit the front, she seemed a bit reluctant to put away leader Canadian Mistress, and appeared to be all-out through the wire to prevail by a neck.
“She’s still a little green and still wants to run with other horses, so she sometimes makes the lead and then waits for another horse to come with her,” Pellegrini said. “But I was pretty convinced the other day that they could have gone around another time and they weren’t going to beat her.”
According to Pellegrini, Angelica Zapata displayed ability very early in her career and expectations were always high for the filly, but a year-long bout with ‘bad racing luck’ soiled the filly’s sophomore season, thus the reason she entered her 4-year-old campaign with just two wins from 14 starts.
“We always knew she was a nice horse, but she just had a lot of bad luck last year,” Pellegrini said. “Her saddled slipped in the Grade 3 (Dogwood) and she was still fourth even though the rider never really got a chance to actually ride her. Then we took her to Arlington where she got shut off in the Pucker Up.
“It was things like that, and they seemed to happen every time. So I’m pretty sure she should have won two or three more times than she did. This year, those obstacles haven’t been there, and she’s been able to run to her ability.”
CALDER DERBY RUNNER-UP TO HILL PRINCE; CALDER CONNECTIONS IN VIRGINIA
Calder Derby runner-up Big Screen, who followed his second-place performance in south Florida with a fifth-place finish in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, will make his next appearance in this Saturday’s Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes over one mile of Belmont Park turf.
The son of Speightstown, now trained by Tom Albertrani, will be making his turf debut in the Hill Prince.
Calder-based Speak Easy Gal, winner of the 2010 Grade 3 Orchid and fifth in the 2011 running of the Grade 2 La Prevoyante, was shipped to Colonial Downs on Wednesday in advance of a start in Saturday’s Grade 3 All Along Stakes.
Although jockey Luis Saez was named aboard Speak Easy Gal at the time of entry, agent Gil Graell confirmed on Thursday that his rider would not be travelling to Virginia for the race.
Gourmet Dinner, a two-time Florida Stallion Stakes winner in 2010, is also scheduled to compete in Virginia this weekend, with an appearance in the Colonial Turf Cup on his docket.
Also bound for the Colonial Turf Cup is the Delmar Martins-trained Atoned who was recently fifth in the $55,000 Sumter Stakes.
CRUZ TO KENTUCKY ON SATURDAY
Jockey Manoel Cruz, a recent returnee to the Calder jockey’s room after spending the last year based out of Kentucky, will be absent from south Florida on Saturday and will make his way back to the Bluegrass State to ride Rogue Romance in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Ken McPeek, Rogue Romance was an allowance winner in his last start and has prevailed in two of three starts since returning from a one-year layoff.
SALIVE TO SERVE AS GUEST ANNOUNCER
Longtime harness racing announcer Frank Salive, currently the track announcer and publicity manager at Pompano Park, will substitute for Calder track announcer Bobby Neuman from June 14 until June 17.
Salive has been an announcer and publicist for several harness tracks during his long and illustrious career, including Western Fair, Clinton, Hanover, Woodstock, and Grand River. From 1991 through 2005, Salive was the lead announcer at the Mohawk and Woodbine standardbred meetings.
Salive was also a 10th-round draft selection by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1975, and has had voice roles in a handful of movies including A History of Violence and Lucky Number Slevin.
Neuman will return to the Calder booth June 21.