Darley Stable's Dubai Escapade, a winner of four straight in 2006, will carry top weight of 122 pounds when she faces six rivals in the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr I) Saturday at Calder Race Course.
Trained by Eoin Harty, the 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again
will try to emulate her half-sister Madcap Escapade, who won the six-furlong Princess Rooney in 2005. Both are out of the stakes-winning Sassy Pants, by Saratoga Six.
Dubai Escapade has won the Vinery Madison (gr. II) and Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) in her two most recent starts, both in flashy gate-to-wire fashion. A $2 million Barretts buy in Match 2004, she began her career in England for Godolphin and was later moved from Dubai to Harty's Darley operation.
Edgar Prado rides Dubai Escapade, who starts from the outside post position while conceding five to seven pounds to her opponents.
Hot Storm, a 4-year-old daughter of Stormy Atlantic
, makes a quick turnaround for trainer Dallas Stewart after her front-running victory June 30 in the Saylorville Stakes at Prairie Meadows, her sixth win in seven races.
Stewart said that Hot Storm is doing so well that she forced the decision on a trip to the Summit on him.
"It's a little unusual for us to come back in two weeks, but she has just trained so good," he said. "She's trying to throw the exercise boy, and she's just feeling good. She acts like she's on top of her game."
The Princess Rooney will be her third race following a four-month layoff. Stewart believes that the time for Hot Storm to try grade I competition will never be better.
Hot Storm ran fourth to Princess Rooney rival Leave Me Alone in last year's Azalea Breeders' Cup (gr. III) in the Summit of Speed, and Stewart is looking for a stronger effort from his fast filly. She brings a record of 9-1-4 in 20 races and earnings of $620,607 into the Princess Rooney. David Flores, who was aboard Hot Storm for her victory in the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita in January, will ride the filly in Saturday's race at Calder.
Leave Me Alone invaded Calder from California for the Summit last year for trainer Eric Kruljac to capture a nose decision in the Azalea Breeders' Cup and went on to a 7 ¼ lengths romp in the Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. This year, the chestnut daughter of Bold Badgett arrived from Belmont Park, where she finished sixth last out behind Dubai Escapade in the Vagrancy, and is in trainer Tim Ritvo's barn.
Kinsman Stable's 6-year-old millionaire Ebony Breeze comes off a victory in the Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park last month.$500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I, Race 10, 5:10 p.m.), Fillies & Mares, 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Malibu Mint (KY), 115, Josue Arce
2. Prospective Saint (KY), 116, Eddie Castro
3. Annika Lass (FL), 116, Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Leave Me Alone (CA), 117, Tyler Baze
5. Ebony Breeze (KY), 116, John Jacinto
6. Hot Storm (FL), 117, David R. Flores
7. Dubai Escapade (KY), 122, Edgar S. Prado