Four races after the $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, the grade II Princess Rooney Handicap, also worth $400,000, bookends the Summit of Speed's richest races. Six fillies are entered for the six-furlong race, the 12th on the card at Calder Race Course on July 13, but from the start it has been billed as another meeting between grade I winners Gold Mover and Xtra Heat.
One June 9 the two 4-year-old fillies finished a neck apart in the 6 1/2-furlong Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. Neither filly has raced since then. On paper, Xtra Heat has the advantage. The filly is closer to earning $2 million than she is the $1 million mark, and she has 20 added-money victories among her 26 lifetime starts. She is undefeated in four starts this year.
However, Gold Mover's credentials are far from shabby. In five starts this year she has two wins and two seconds, and $732,698 in lifetime earnings to her name. Mark Hennig trains the daughter of Gold Fever for owner/breeder Edward Evans.
Xtra Heat worked a half-mile at Laurel Park Monday morning in preparation for the race. With trainer John Salzman, Sr. and part-owner Kenny Taylor watching, last year's champion 3-year-old filly was timed in 49 1/5 under jockey Harry Vega, who will be aboard in the Princess Rooney.
"It was what we wanted," said Salzman, who a week ago, sent the 4-year-old filly out for a five-furlong move in 1:02 4/5. "She doesn't have to break any records in the morning. I think she's doing OK."
The field for the $400,000 Princess Rooney, for fillies and mares three years old and up, going six furlongs, from the rail out:
PP, Horse, jockey, weight, morning line.
1--Vague Memory, J.A. Garcia, 114, 8-1
2--Fly Me Crazy, Jorge Chavez, 112, 10-1
3--Xtra Heat, Harry Vega, 127, 4-5
4--Gold Mover, Jerry Bailey, 115, 2-1
5--Prized Amberpro, Mark Guidry, 114, 8-1
6--Sugar N Spice, C.H. Velasquez, 113, 15-1