Bitterroot Racing Stable's Cellars Shiraz and Kinsman Stable's Four Pennies appear to be the leaders in the 3-year-old filly division here this summer and will meet for the first time Saturday in the $100,000 Office Queen Stakes at Calder Race Course.
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez gets the return call on Cellars Shiraz for trainer Bill Cesare in the 1 1/16-mile main track race that drew a field of six sophomore fillies. Trainer Manny Tortora has named jockey Manoel Cruz to ride lightly raced Four Pennies.
A Florida-bred daughter of Kissin Kris, Cellars Shiraz was among the stars of the Gulfstream winter season, reeling off three consecutive stakes victories˜the Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT) and Via Borghese on turf and the Gaily Gaily on the main track.
Most recently, Cesare shipped Cellars Shiraz to Kentucky where she ran a good second as the favorite on May 3 in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on turf. The trainer concedes the filly may be better on turf, but the Office Queen fits her schedule well .
While Four Pennies is not as experienced or accomplished as Cellars Shiraz, the Florida homebred daughter of Gulch has shown considerable promise in her six starts. On May 17 she went a distance of ground for the first time in Calder's Cut the Charm overnight handicap at a mile and romped home a nine-length winner.
Completing the field are Jackson Racing's Kud'zu Magic, Javier Santiago; Jacks or Better Farm's Our Dear Jade, Rosemary Homeister,Jr.; J. Mack Robinson's Tasso Run, Gary Boulanger; and John Franks‚ Chit Chatter, Abel Castellano Jr.
The Office Queen is named for the 1970 champion 3-year-old filly who raced for track co-founder Stephen A. Calder and was trained by Budd Lepman. Saturday will mark the 26th running of the event and past winners have included Powder Break, Shocker T., Judy's Red Shoes, Mia's Hope, and Winfama.