Donamire Farm's 8-year-old gelding Twilight Road, impressive in winning Calder's Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III) by 5 ¼ lengths last year, is once more the horse to beat in Monday's renewal of the $100,000 stakes race.
Regular rider Phil Teator will be aboard Twilight Road, the 119-pound top weight among eight entrants for the 1 1/16-mile test.
A veteran of 50 career races with $720,000 in earnings, Twilight Road campaigned successfully while based in Kentucky until early 2004 when placed at Calder with trainer David Fawkes. The homebred chestnut son of Cahill Road also won the Miami Breeders' Cup (gr. IIIT) on turf last summer.
Twilight Road has not won in three starts this year, but has run well enough in top company. He finished fourth in the Lure Stakes and a good second, beaten a half-length by Eurosilver, in the Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. He most recently turned in a solid third-place effort in the $300,000 Texas Mile (gr. III) at Lone Star Park on Apr. 30.
Last year's Memorial Day runner-up, Jacks or Better Farm's 5-year-old Hear No Evil, is a multiple stakes winner who will try his luck once again.
Jockey Melvin Toro was aboard the Carson City horse when they won the Chris Thomas Turf Cup last time out at Tampa Bay Downs on May 7 in a gate-to-wire effort on turf. The winner of nearly $600,000 is back at Calder for the summer with trainer Larry Pilotti after spending the winter at Tampa Bay with trainer Kenneth Decker.
Another veteran stakes performer in the field is Raymond Susi's versatile 7-year-old gelding Built Up, teamed with jockey Sebastian Madrid. Trained throughout his career by Enrique Alonso, the son of Homebuilder won the Spend A Buck Handicap (gr. III) going 1 1/16 miles at Calder last fall.
Built Up hasn't run in a two-turn race since the Spend A Buck and most recently finished fifth in the six-furlong Ponche Handicap at Calder on Apr. 30.
With back-to-back place finishes, Whos Crying Now has a chance for trainer Manny Tortora. The 5-year-old Concerto gelding chased Gygistar to be second in a tough one-mile allowance at Gulfstream on March 11 and finished second to Super Frolic last out in the Sumter overnight stakes at Calder on May 7.
Newcomb Green's remarkable 10-year-old gelding Dancing Guy, who competed in each of the last six runnings of the Memorial Day, winning in 2000 and 2003, is absent from this year's line-up. The son of Robyn Dancer hasn't run since finishing unplaced behind Built Up in the Spend a Buck last fall. $100,000 Memorial Day Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 1 1/6 miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Biblical Scholar (FL), 112, Eddie Castro
2. Twilight Road (KY), 119, Phil Teator
3. Built Up (FL), 114, Sebastian Madrid
4. Hear No Evil (FL), 112, Melvin Toro
5. Runnintothealter (KY), 113, Manuel Aguilar
6. Whos Crying Now (FL), 115, Manoel Cruz
7. Demeteor (KY), 114, Richard Bracho
8. Flirt With Fortune (FL), 111, Chris Morales