Sassy Image seeks her third consecutive graded stakes victory when she leads a field of 10 older fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs in the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) July 9 at Calder in the final event of the Florida track’s "Summit of Speed."
Trained by Preakness (gr. I) winner Dale Romans for his brother, Jerry, Sassy Image hit her best stride this season after leaving Florida for Churchill Downs, where the 4-year-old took the Humana Distaff (gr. I) by three lengths on the Derby undercard. She returned to annex the Winning Colors Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill May 30.
Sassy Image will carry highweight of 124 pounds in the Princess Rooney, reflecting her current sharp form. She has won six of her 13 lifetime starts and nearly $600,000. This will be her first start at Calder, and she will have to prove she can handle the heat in the Sunshine State, where she is one-for-four at Gulfstream Park.
Champagne d'Oro has the opposite profile, that being a lack of current top form. The half sister to 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice last visited the winner’s circle last August after winning the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, two races after she won the Betfair TVG Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Since the Test Champagne d’Oro is winless in four trips to the post, including a fourth in last November’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (gr. I). She was also fourth in her only 2011 start in the El Encino Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
The local hot horse, Musical Romance, will break from the outside post, but she obviously enjoys the Calder layout. The Bill Kaplan trainee won the U Can Do It Handicap June 11 over six furlongs at Calder, one race after taking the May 22 Ema Bovary Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs there. She is a five-time winner at Calder and will be dangerous.
Trainer Marty Wolfson has done his best to surround the Princess Rooney, entering four of the 10 runners in the race. Jehan won the Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth Park May 29 at six furlongs following a pair of thirds in one-mile allowance events. She has also been stakes-placed four times in her career, which includes five wins from 25 starts and earnings of $292,000. Stephanie Got Even is another Wolfson runner who has a stakes victory under her belt, having taken the American Beauty at Oaklawn Park in January. She is winless in four tries since placing in two stakes events.
Wolfson also sends out a pair of stakes-placed runners in Indulgence and Bella Moneta. The latter ran second in the Cool Air Stakes at five furlongs June 18 and was also runner-up in the Ema Bovary. She has already made nine starts this year and was claimed by Wolfson for $32,000 at Gulfstream Park in March. Indulgence ran second in the U Can Do It and third in the Ema Bovary following a victory in an April turf event at Calder.
Cosmo Girl, who breaks from the rail, won the 2011 Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn going six panels in March. Don'ttalktome is a three-time stakes winner from 2009 but is winless in six tries since that season.
$350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I, Race 12, 5:32 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Cosmo Girl (KY), L Wade, 117, J Petalino
2. Stephanie Got Even (KY), J Castellano, 117, M D Wolfson
3. Champagne d'Oro (KY), D Cohen, 121, E J Guillot
4. Indulgence (FL), J L Alvarez, 114, M D Wolfson
5. Sassy Image (KY), M E Smith, 124, D L Romans
6. Bella Moneta (FL), J V Bridgmohan, 117, M D Wolfson
7. Derwin's Star (FL), K Carmouche, 118, S Klesaris
8. Jehan (KY), L Saez, 117, M D Wolfson
9. Don'ttalktome (KY), D Centeno, 114, C J Stewart
10. Musical Romance (FL), J C Leyva, 117, W A Kaplan