"Extreme Day," a 14-race program that goes well beyond the norm in Thoroughbred racing, will be held for the first time on July 22 at Calder Race Course.Races will vary in length from a quarter-mile sprint to a two-mile turf marathon. There will be two races contested at the same time and another in which horses will run in the opposite direction.
The $50,000 Rocket Man Stakes for 2-year-olds and up going two furlongs has been part of Calder's Summit of Speed day, but has been moved to Extreme Day. At the other end of the spectrum is the new Bob Umphrey Turf Marathon Handicap, a two-mile turf race worth a cool $250,000.Calder will introduce the "World's Fastest Daily Double" on Extreme Day, where two races will be run simultaneously: one on the main track at six furlongs and one on the turf course over one mile. Both races will be limited to eight starters each.The "King George Wrong Way Stakes" will be contested at about 1 3/8 miles on the turf course going clockwise (right turns). It all depends on one's perspective as to which is the "right way" or the "wrong way" since in many parts of the world, races are typically run in the opposite direction. The race is named in acknowledgment of the King George VI Stakes (Eng-I) that is held at Ascot Racecourse in England. The day will also include a "Battle of the Sexes" race where jockeys Kristi Chapman and the recently returned Rosemary Homeister, Jr. will take on two of Calder's top male jockeys in a women vs. men challenge. Rounding out the day of extremes – the "Methuselah Stakes" will be held for older horses (5 year olds and upward) and the "Gray Pride Stakes" on the turf – featuring horses colored gray or roan. There will also be a jockey sprint race, a foot race for the riders to see who is the fastest without their horses."This day has been in the works for months," said Calder President Ken Dunn, who has consulted with his management team, the horsemen and jockeys about all the details that encompass Extreme Day. "We have some unique ideas that are going to generate a lot of interest. But first there were many operational details that we had to consider: safety, personnel, contingencies for bad weather, our closed-circuit television coverage and mutuels...these are just some examples. Our team has worked on these plans for months and we are confident that Calder will offer a great new experience for horse racing enthusiasts," he said. "It's going to be fun."