Edited from a Calder release
Buckram Oak Farm's Silver Wagon and John Franks' Chatter Chatter are two of the most exciting 2-year-old prospects developed at Calder in recent years and will be among the stars performing in Saturday's Grand Slam I races.
Champion jockey Jerry Bailey has ridden both Silver Wagon and Chatter Chatter in each of their last two starts and will be aboard Saturday as they go to the post as favorites in the $100,000 What A Pleasure Stakes and $100,000 Three Ring Stakes, respectively.
The companion events for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, the Three Ring for fillies, share top billing on the Grand Slam I card with the $100,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap and $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs. The latter is for fillies and mares.
Bailey continues to add to his record North American totals for his mount's purse earnings and stakes wins this year, a season that began here on New Year's Day when he rode Nothing to Lose to victory in the Tropical Park Derby (gr. III) for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.Silver Wagon Faces Solid Challenge After Layoff
Buckram Oak Farm's Silver Wagon vaulted to the top ranks of the 2-year-old division this summer when Bailey guided him to a four-length victory in the prestigious Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga on Aug. 30.
The son of freshman sire Wagon Limit was developed at Calder by trainer Ralph Ziadie, finishing second here in his debut prior to a maiden score at the Spa prior to the Hopeful.
However, Wagon Limit will be making his first start since the Hopeful in the What A Pleasure in a field of 10 that includes several other very promising young prospects with good recent form, including John Franks' Smoocher, a recent arrival from Canada with trainer David Bell.
Jockey James McAleney gets the return call on Smoocher. The homebred son of Kissin Kris won the Grey Breeders' Cup (Can-II) at Woodbine and finished second last out to the highly regarded Judiths Wild Rush in the Display Stakes at Woodbine on Nov. 15.
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Completing the field for the What A Pleasure are Austin Barber, Moon Warrior, Mr. Willies Joe, Nightmare Affair, Society Sam, Twice as Bad and Zakocity, who will run as an entry with Smoocher.Chatter Chatter More Comfortable at Two Turns Again in Three Ring
Chatter Chatter was the 1-to-10 favorite last out when she won the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies by just two lengths last out under Jerry Bailey for trainer Marty Wolfson. However, some observers felt her performance in the seven-furlong test was not particularly impressive as she drifted out in the stretch.
The homebred daughter of Lost Soldier was brilliant winning her two previous starts around two turns, including the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes by nearly 20 lengths. After the Joe O'Farrell, both Bailey and Wolfson suggested Chatter Chatter is simply much better over a distance and fans could expect better next time.
Chatter Chatter will almost certainly be odds-on again Saturday in a field of eight with Establo Madoca's Marina de Chavon and Sabine Stable's Horah for Bailey the most accomplished rivals with jockeys Dale Beckner and Joe Bravo, respectively.
Marina de Chavon finished a game second when beaten a length by Ride Her Out in the Brave Raj Stakes here in September, but was bothered near the finish and placed first by the stewards. Trained by Joe Catanese III, the daughter of Exploit was shipped to Kentucky where she finished a very respectable fourth with trouble in the Pocahontas Stakes on Nov. 1.
Horah for Bailey finished third in the Brave Raj for trainer Steve Standridge after setting the pace to mid-stretch. The homebred daughter of Doneraile Court turned back to six furlongs and finished a good third in the Cassidy Stakes last out on Oct. 11.
Completing the field of eight in the Three Ring are Ender's Sister, Jewels N Gems, Runaway Rizzi, Steph's Meadowlake and Usual Manner.
Usual Manner is a daughter of Double Honor homebred by Michael Sherman and trained by Angel Salinas. She finished a game second last out in the Joe O‚Farrell behind Chatter Chatter.Built Up & Tour of the Cat in Kenny Noe Jr. Rematch
Raymond Susi's Built Up and Double G Stable's Tour of the Cat, 5-year-old geldings that have faced off a number of times in recent campaigns, meet again in Saturday's Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap.
Built Up, to be ridden by Aurelio Toribio Jr., won this race by a length last year over Tour of the Cat, who was the favorite and will likely be again this time under regular rider Abad Cabassa Jr.
Trained by Rick Alonso, Built Up is a son of Homebuilder and will have to show more than he has in his last two races, including a dull fifth-place finish in the Jack Dudley Sprint on Nov. 15.
Tour of the Cat is a highly versatile son of Tour d'Or trained by Myra Mora and winner of nearly $800,000 since being claimed early in his career for $25,000. Tour of the Cat turns back in distance from two-turn stakes victories in the Miami Breeders' Cup and Spend A Buck Handicap and a solid second behind Best of the Rest in the Carl Rose Classic on Florida Million Day.
A particularly interesting newcomer to the local sprint division ranks in the Kenny Noe is Bruno Schickedanz' 6-year-old Wake At Noon, who arrived into trainer Henry Collazo's barn from Canada last month.
Jockey Horatio Karamanos gets the call on the homebred son of Cure the Blues, Canada's Horse of the Year in 2002 and winner of more than $1.5 million. Wake At Noon is versatile but hasn't sprinted since the summer. However, he has been quite effective at seven-eighths with three wins and a second in five lifetime starts at the distance.
Two other contenders will be Robert Bakerman's Love That Moon and C R K Stable's Hasty Kris, the latter shipping in from California for trainer John Sadler. Love That Moon is a 4-year-old homebred gelding trained by Rudy Wolfendale. The son of Migrating Moon has won his last three starts, including the Jack Dudley Sprint with Built Up fifth.
Hasty Kris is a Florida-bred 6-year-old gelding by Kissin Kris but has been campaigning in California most of his career. He finished a good third last out in the Vernon O. Underwood Handicap (gr. III) at Hollywood Park on Nov. 27.
Completing the highly competitive field of 10 in the Kenny Noe are Fire and Glory, Formal Attire, Handsome Smile, Sea of Tranquility and Sing Me Back Home.Chispiski Bids for Repeat in Chaposa Springs
Brazil Stable's 4-year-old homebred filly Chispiski scored the biggest victory of her career in the Chaposa Springs Handicap last year as she was just emerging as a leader in the south Florida filly and mare sprint division.
Trainer Ron Spatz sends the daughter of Appealing Skier out as the favorite in Saturday's renewal of the Chaposa Springs under jockey Julio Garcia in a very competitive field of 12.
Chispiski lost a tough decision when third by a neck in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream in late January and was sent to the sidelines. Spatz brought her back in the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) here on July 12, but it was too much to expect in that company after such a long layoff as she finished sixth.
Since then, Chispiski has won three of four starts with a second, dominating her rivals in the U Can Do It Handicap and Cutlass Envoy overnight stakes. Her style is to go to the front and improve her position.
Completing the field for the Chaposa Springs are Barbara O‚Brien, Belle Artiste, Crafty Brat, Crimson and roses, Elegant Mercedes, Forty Marinesca, Holy Bubbette, Honeymooner, Keiai Sakura