The $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes and $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes to be run Saturday at Calder, companion events for 3-year-olds at 7 ½ furlongs on turf, have attracted strong fields, including a number of graded stakes runners.
William Sorokolit, Sr.'s Union Place and Live Oak Plantation's Miesque's Approval are among the probable choices with 15 colts entered in the Pete Axthelm, which offers a rematch of their thrilling stretch duel in the $200,000 Calder Derby (gr. III) on Oct. 12. Only 12 will start.
Jockey Eibar Coa gets the call on Union Place, who won a hard-fought neck decision over Miesque's Approval in the Calder Derby. Trained by Randy Schulhofer, the son of Out of Place finished sixth last out in the Hollywood Derby (gr. I) on Dec. 1, but was beaten only four lengths in a respectable effort after the long trip to California.
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez rides Miesque's Approval for trainer Bill Mott. The Florida homebred son of Miesque's Son won the Kent Breeders' Cup (gr. III) at Delaware Park this summer, among several top efforts in graded stakes events, and won the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup here last out on Nov. 16 against older horses.
Finishing third in the Calder Derby was The Judge Sez Who, who will try turf again Saturday with Laffit Pincay, Jr. aboard. Pincay, Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading jockey, is being honored at Calder.
Trained by Milt Wolfson, The Judge Sez Who was on 'Derby' trails all summer in main track events, winning the Oklahoma (gr. III) version at Remington Park in late August.
Leading the oversubscribed field of 15 fillies entered for the Frances A. Genter are Bitterroot Investments' Cellars Shiraz, ridden by Coa.
Other top contenders are Joseph Platt, Jr.'s Nonsuch Bay, Mark Guidry; SVGB Stable's Heyahohowdy, Laffit Pincay, Jr.; and James Michael's Strait From Texas, Jeremy Beasley.
Cellars Shiraz emerged as a leader in the 3-year-old filly division in Florida early this year when reeling off three consecutive stakes victories at Gulfstream Park, two on turf and one on the main track for trainer Bill Cesare.
The homebred daughter of Kissin Kris continued to add to her resume all with three more stakes victories and runner-up efforts in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs and the Pucker Up Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park to bring her career earnings to more than $500,000.
Nonsuch Bay emerged among the top ranks of her age group in New York earlier this year with major victories in the Nassau County Breeders' Cup (gr. II) and Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont.
Trained by Frank Alexander, the chestnut daughter of Mr. Greeley was to have made her turf course debut last out in the Pebbles Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 14, but the race was forced to a 'muddy' main track and she finished second.
Heyahohowdy finished fourth last out in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs in her first start for trainer Larry Demeritte. The Canadian homebred daughter of Domasca Dan made her first eight career starts at Woodbine, winning a pair of turf stakes against Canadian-bred rivals.$100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes (Race 7), 3-year-old fillies, 7 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Bijou (KY), 118, Manoel R. Cruz
2 Perfect Energy (NY), 118, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
3 Saranac Lake (KY), 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez
4 Heyahohowdy (ON), 121, Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.
5 Strait From Texas (KY), 121, Jeremy Beasley
6 Cellars Shiraz (FL), 121, Eibar Coa
7 Hi Tech Honeycomb (KY), 121, Anthony J. D'Amico
8 Madeira Mist (IRE), 118, Gary Boulanger
9 August Storm (FL), 121, Jose C. Ferrer
10 She's Vested (KY), 118, Rene R. Douglas
11 Devil's Good Girl (KY), 121, Abel Castellano, Jr.
12 Nonsuch Bay (KY), 121, Mark Guidry
AE May Gator (KY), 116, Shane J. Sellers
AE Something Ventured (KY) , 114, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
AE Gist (KY) , 114, Omar Camejo$100,000 Pete Axthelm States (Race 10), 3-year-old colts & geldings, 7 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Handsome George (KY), 117, Eduardo O. Nunez
2 Bog Hunter (FL), 119, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
3 Political Attack (KY), 122, Mark Guidry
4 Thefull Circle (KY) , 119, Rene R. Douglas
5 Class of Seventy (FL), 117, Julio A. Garcia
6 Van Minister (KY), 122, Manoel R. Cruz
7 Crackajack (KY), 119, Shane J. Sellers
8 Swift Replica (FL), 115, Abel Castellano, Jr.
9 Miesque's Approval (FL), 122, Cornelio H. Velasquez
10 Stormy Roman (FL), 117, Manuel Aguilar
11 Union Place (FL), 122, Eibar Coa
12 The Judge Sez Who (FL), 119, Laffit A. Pincay, Jr.
AE Gemma's Star (FL), 119, Eibar Coa
AE Love That Moon (FL), 115, Manoel R. Cruz
AE D' Coach (KY), 115, Jose A. Velez, Jr.