Calder specialist Love That Moon posted a mild upset in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap on Florida Million day, defeating Pick'em by three-quarters of a length with 8-to-5 favorite Sing Me Back Home finishing third.
Off at odds of 7-to-2, Love That Moon paid $9.60 for the win and covered the six furlongs in 1:10 2/5.
Winner of his last two starts, both overnight handicaps at Calder, Love That Moon is trained by Rudy Wolfendale for owner/breeder Robert Bakerman.
Jockey Manoel Cruz kept the 4-year-old gelded son of Migrating Moon, who broke on top from the rail before settling back, about five or six lengths off the early pace. At the quarter pole began to look for racing room. Love That Moon split horses coming down the lane to get the lead around the sixteenth pole and finish strong.
"My horse broke a length and a half in front so I could let him settle down – I didn't have to go to the front," Cruz said. "Everybody pushed to go and I settled behind and saved ground. My space opened up, I pushed my horse and he won the race. He ran a great race."
All seven of Love That Moon's victories have come at Calder. This one, worth $90,000, was his biggest. He has total earnings of $228,665 in 17 career tries.
"I guess he likes it here," Wolfendale said. "He's won seven out of 10 (starts) over the track. He's gotten beat a couple of times because of bad trips. When I first got him, I wasn't sure what to expect. He bucked shins as a 2-year-old, and when he came back from that, he had a funny-looking tendon.
"I was just hoping he would break good today so he wouldn't be totally left out of it early. I didn't mind seeing those fast early fractions. I watched on television and he wasn't even in the picture at the head of the stretch. He just keeps on truckin'."