A day of five sprint stakes worth over $1 million returns to highlight Calder Race Courses' stakes schedule.
The Summit of Speed, which debuted last year, will run July 14 and feature five sprint stakes that include the $400,000 Grade III Princess Rooney Handicap, $250,000 Grade III Azalea Breeders' Cup Stakes, and $250,000 Carry Back Stakes. These three races are the richest in the country for their respective divisions (outside of the Breeders' Cup Sprint). The Princess Rooney is the nation's richest sprint race for fillies and mares.
Calder's stakes schedule will also be anchored by the 10th annual Festival of Sun on Oct. 13, which offers seven stakes races including the $400,000 finals of the Florida Stallion Stakes series. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
For the year, Calder will offer 41 stakes races worth a Calder record of $4,805,000.
"We accomplished a lot with the Summit of Speed in its first year and feel that it will grow even more in 2001," said Calder president Ken Dunn. "The Festival of the Sun continues to showcase quality racing and, along with all of the horse-related entertainment activities, serves as our marquee event. Surrounding both of those days is a strong stakes schedule that has something to offer every division. It's going to be an exciting year."
The inaugural Summit of Speed easily broke the all-time total handle record for the Calder meet, with $8,141,705 wagered on the 12-race program, topping the previous record handle of $7.6 million set during the 1998 Festival of the Sun. The event also introduced the first-ever National Pick 4 wager, with a guaranteed pool of $100,000.
This year's Festival of the Sun stakes races are worth a total of $1.5 million, headed by the $400,000 My Dear Girl division and the $400,000 In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
The $200,000 Calder Oaks, $200,000 Smile Sprint, $100,000 Shocker T., $100,000 Spend A Buck and $100,000 Flying Pidgeon round out an outstanding afternoon of competition. During last year's Festival, 2-year-old Express Tour completed a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes and Forty One Carats set a new track record for six furlongs.
Also on the 2001 Calder stakes schedule are nine races supported in part by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association (FTBOA) Purse Enhancement Fund. Six of the races are restricted to Florida-breds and have purses of $50,000 each. Three stakes will be offered at $60,000 ($40,000 plus $20,000 from the FTBOA fund for registered Florida-breds). Not on the stakes schedule, but noteworthy, are six overnight stakes of $50,000 each ($30,000 plus $20,000 from the FTBOA fund for registered Florida-breds). The races enhanced by the FTBOA fund all carry 'black type' status and are expected to benefit all participants.
Calder Race Course will open on Wed., May 23 for simulcasting; however, the first 'live' race day will be Thurs., May 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m.