Jul 21, 2006
AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD
By: JOE GIRARDI
At Calder on Saturday July 15th they hosted the Summit of Speed which consisted of nine stakes races all at sprint distances. There were three stakes races that stood out on this day. Many big names in racing were in Florida for these races and we will take a look at the most important ones.
We will start with the Carry Back Stakes, a Grade II for three year olds at six furlongs with a purse of $300,000. The 1-2 favorite in the race was TOO MUCH BLING from the Bob Baffert barn who has showed that he is one of the better three year old sprinters in the country and maybe one of the top overall sprinters. With four wins from five starts this year Baffert said he would point this gray son of RUBIANO to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. After stalking the leaders from fourth he made a strong move to take over and scored by an easy two lengths.
In the next race, the Princess Rooney Handicap, one of two races that held carried a purse of $500,000. DUBAI ESCAPADE, a half sister to the brilliant MADCAP ESCAPADE, has shown immense talent so far this year in four starts in which she won them all. Her most recent win in the Grade II Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont was very impressive scoring by six lengths in a solid time of 1:15:1 covering the distance of 6 and ½ furlongs. She came into the race as an extremely heavy favorite, sent off at 1-5 she chased the early leaders and could only manage a sixth place finish, which made for huge prices in the show spot. The winner of the race was MALIBU MINT who stalked the leaders in fourth and scored going away, she paid $49.20 to win and $79.40 to show. The place horse paid $65.80 to show and the horse who ran third, the second choice in the race paid $32.00 to show. There was no apparent excuse and it should be known that Calder does have a deep main track and maybe she didn’t take to the surface.
The following race was the Grade II Smile Sprint Handicap, a Grade II for three year olds and upward, traveling six furlongs and it had a purse of $500,000. This race had the biggest name of the day as LOST IN THE FOG was trying to get his career back on track after some speculation that he might retire losing his first start of the year as the 2-5 favorite. He bounced back with a win at Churchill Downs he came down to Calder to try and continue his win streak. The speedy four year old was never in contention racing in midpack early on and then finishing a well beaten ninth. The excuse that DUBAI ESCAPADE might have about the track is not a viable one in this instance as LOST IN THE FOG has already won over this track scoring by more than seven lengths in last year’s Carry Back Stakes on Summit of Speed day 2005. If there was talk about retirement after his first race of the year I expect that there will be more of that talk after this performance. This horse has always shipped across the country and did it well but maybe the shipping has taking its toll on him or maybe he isn’t the same horse he was at a three year old. Whatever the case may be don’t expect to see him running much longer with performances like the one on Saturday. The winner of the race was NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a local horse who has now won four races in a row and is in the best form of his life. Grade I winner, POMEROY ran very well to finish second in his first start of the year while adding lasix for the first time. If he can improve off that effort then maybe he can get his career back on track. The time of the race however was 1:10:2 which was 2/5th’s of a second slower than the filly and mare race one race earlier.
On Sunday at Belmont Breeders’ Cup Sprint hero SILVER TRAIN got the job done by a head over a game WAR FRONT to score in the Grade II Tom Fool. SILVER TRAIN has always shown affinity for Belmont Park has now run his record to five wins from seven tries over the track. His win in the Breeders’ Cup came at Belmont but this year’s Breeders’ Cup is at Churchill Downs and SILVER TRAIN has only won win away from Belmont. These races this past weekend have upset the sprint division and it will be interesting to see who emerges as the top horse as the Breeders’ Cup approaches.
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