The fields are set for the four $100,000 stakes races to be run on Saturday's Grand Slam I program at Calder Race Course -- the biggest afternoon of racing on the national calendar that day.
Jockeys Jerry Bailey, Jorge Chavez, Mark Guidry, Eibar Coa, and Rene Douglas are prominent among the riders to be in action. Among the trainers represented in one or more of the stakes will be Bill Mott, Jimmy Croll, Christophe Clement, Rusty Arnold, Jr., Niall O'Callaghan, Scotty Schulhofer, Dale Romans, and Michael Dickinson.
There will be an All-Stakes Pick 4 on the Grand Slam races with a guaranteed pool of $100,000.Crash Course, Tijiyr, and Slew Valley Tropical Turf Choices
J. Mack Robinson's Crash Course, Gary Tanaka's Tijiyr, and Alan Burkhard and Rich Meadow Farm's Slew Valley will be among the favorites in a full field of 12 3-year-olds and up that will contest the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
Eibar Coa gets the call on Crash Course for Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Croll. The 5-year-old Holy Bull gelding is in peak form, winning the Cliff Hanger Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Meadowlands and finishing third in the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont, beaten only a half-length for it all in his last start.
Jorge Chavez rides 5-year-old Irish-bred Tijiyr for trainer Niall O'Callaghan. Campaigned in France last year, Tijiyr was placed with O'Callaghan earlier this year and immediately made a big impression winning an allowance and the $600,000 Explosive Bid Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds in his first two American starts early this year. After finishing a third behind Forbidden Apple in the grade I Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Day, he was off for six months, coming back on Nov. 11 at Churchill Downs to finish second in the River City Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Slew Valley arrived at Calder Tuesday from trainer Michael Dickinson's Tapeta Farm training center in Maryland. The lightly raced 4-year-old by Valley Crossing placed in the Bowling Green Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont and was third in the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) at Saratoga over the summer.
He ran another big race to finish fifth in the Atto Mile (Can-IT) at Woodbine in September, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths. Unplaced last out in the Canadian International (gr.IT) at 12 furlongs on Sept. 3, he was scratched from the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) after coughing the morning of the race.
Completing the field are Groomstick Stock's, Rosemary Homeister Jr.; Unite's Big Red, Eduardo Nunez; Medievil Hero, Jose Ferrer; Band Is Passing, Carlos Gonzalez; Profit Option, Cornelio Velasquez; Spindrift, Jerry Bailey; Rize, Mark Guidry; American Halo, Manuel Aguilar; and Mr. Livingston, Abel Castellano, Jr. Eltawaasul, Saint Joseph, Pisces and Broadway Snowman are on the also-eligible list.Batique, Sitka, and Chaste Ones to Beat in My Charmer
Helen Groves' Batique and Jeanne Vance's Chaste will lead a full field of 12 fillies and mares postward in the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT) at 1 1/8 miles on turf with Jorge Chavez and Abel Castellano, Jr. aboard, respectively.
Batique ships in from Fair Hill training center in Maryland for trainer Michael Matz. The 5-year-old Storm Cat mare finished second last out in the Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Belmont on Breeders' Cup weekend. She scored her most important career victory this summer at Monmouth Park in the Vinery Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT).
Chaste is a 5-year-old daughter of Cozzene trained by Scotty Schulhofer and finished ninth last out in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). She had run two good ones before that when third in the Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga and fourth in the Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont.
McKee Stable's Sitka will also get plenty of support with Sebastian Madrid named to ride. Trained by Dale Romans, the 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer rallied from off the pace to finish second last out in the Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
Completing the field in the body of the My Charmer are Clearly a Queen, Cornelio Velasquez; Silver Bandana, Carlos Gonzalez; Wander Mom, Eibar Coa; Zeiting, Eduardo Nunez; Light Dancer, Manuel Aguilar; Smilin' n Blushing, Jerry Bailey; Windsong, Chris DeCarlo, Step With Style, Rene Douglas; and Please Sign In, Mark Guidry. Left on the also-eligible list are Castlebrook, Coolbythepool, Bristol Pistol and On the Horizon.Rulebook & Notable Editor Top Eight in What a Pleasure
David Hutson's In Reality runner-up Rulebook and Starlight Stable's Notable Editor, trained by Kenny McPeek, are the likely choices among eight 2-year-old colts and geldings entered in the $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
Trained by Marty Wolfson, Rulebook will have Jerry Bailey aboard. The chestnut gelding by Notebook has shown steady improvement since stretching out to two turns for his last two starts. He rallied from last of 12 to finish second behind Booklet in the In Reality last out on Oct. 13.
Notable Editor is 'the other' colt in McPeek's barn and Rene Douglas gets the call. A chestnut son of Editor's Note, Notable Editor broke his maiden last out at Keeneland on Oct. 11 going 1 1/16 miles.
Completing the field are Holy Run, Mark Guidry; Major Mecke, Jorge Chavez; The Judge Sez Who, Eibar Coa; O'Rocky, Cornelio Velasquez; Speedy Leon, Roger I. Velez; and Dr. Greeley, Abel Castellano Jr.Grand Slam I - Sat., Dec. 8 - The Lineup:
Race 8 - $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr.IIIT). Approximate post time 3:27 p.m. Fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up1 1/8 miles - turf
Race 9 - $100,000 Three Ring Stakes. Approximate post time 3:53 p.m. 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles.
Race 10 - $100,000 What a Pleasure Stakes. Approximate post time 4:19 p.m. 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles.
Race 11 - $100,000 Tropical Park Handicap (gr. IIIT). Approximate post time 4:45 p.m. 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/18 miles, turf.
$100,000 All-Stakes Pick 4 wager - Calder offers this bet for just $1 and guarantees at least a $100,000 Pick 4 pool.