Turf Matchup Tops Florida Million Card

Turf Matchup Tops Florida Million Card
Photo: Coglianese Photos
8-year old Silver Tree heads the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap.

The Carl G. Rose Classic and Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap, at $200,000 apiece, are the richest events on the Florida Million program Nov. 8 at Calder Race Course. But the matchup that figures to draw the most attention is between the popular veteran Silver Tree and the streaking Soldier's Dancer, who square off on the Calder turf earlier in the day.

The eight stakes on tap for Florida-bred horses total $1.2 million in prize money, topping a 12-race card at the Miami track. HorseRacing TV will present live coverage of Million Day, with first post time of 12:25 p.m. ET/9:25 a.m. PT.

Silver Tree and Soldier's Dancer run in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap, the fourth race on the program, with an estimated post time of 1:46 p.m. EST. The 1 1/8-mile race also drew grade II winner Icy Atlantic from the Todd Pletcher barn.

Peter Vegso's homebred Silver Tree keeps going at age 8, registering a pair of grade III wins this year for trainer Bill Mott. A lifetime winner of 14 races and $1,753,009 in 41 starts, the son of Hennessy is coming off a close fourth-place finish—just 1 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Big Brown—in the Monmouth Stakes Sept. 13.

Edgar Prado, who guided Silver Tree to victory in Aqueduct's Fort Marcy (gr. IIIT) April 27, takes the mount.

Herman Heinlein's Soldier's Dancer is coming off a four-length triumph in the Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT) over the Calder turf Oct. 18 and has back-to-back stakes victories for trainer David Vivian. He captured the President's Cup over a yielding Philadelphia Park turf a month earlier. The 4-year-old Lost Soldier gelding is closing in on the $1-million mark in career earnings with $933,080 while winning nine of 25 lifetime starts.

To be ridden once again by Manoel Cruz, Soldier's Dancer loves Calder, where he has won six of 15 tries with 12 in-the-money performances. The gray is also fond of the nine-furlong distance, in which he is 4-for-8 with three runner-up finishes.

Silver Tree and Soldier's Dancer have met once this year, with favored Soldier's Dancer winning the Tampa Turf Classic April 5 by 1 1/4 lengths over Silver Tree. Soldier's Dancer has been assigned top weight of 122 pounds, one pound more than Silver Tree.

It's a Bird, trained by Marty Wolfson for owner Edmund A. Gann, brings a three-race Calder win streak into the Carl G. Rose Classic. It's a Bird, assigned high weight of 120 pounds against seven rivals in the 1 1/8-mile main track event, most recently won the Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III) over several of his opponents in the Rose. The 5-year-old Birdonthewire horse won by a head over Gottcha Gold, who is skipping this race.

It's a Bird, like two others in the Rose—Finallymadeit and Marnesia's Big Boy—are cross-entered in the Bonnie Heath. Marnesia's Big Boy ran fourth in the Spend a Buck while Finallymadeit was sixth.

The Rose Classic also attracted grade III winner Actin Good, shipping south from New Jersey for trainer Bobby Dibona; Dream Maestro, third at 55-1 in the Spend A Buck; and Atlantic Paws, who returns to his Calder base for James Chapman after running fifth in the Oklahoma Derby Oct. 19.

Annabill defends her victory in last years Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap against seven others, including Peach Flambe, who ran third in the 1 1/16-mile main track test in 2007.

The 5-year-old Annabill, a daughter of Outflanker  owned by N.T.S. Stable and trained by Milt Wolfson, had a four-race winning streak at Calder earlier this year and has scored in 16 of 34 lifetime starts at the South Florida track. She tuned up for the Heubeck Distaff with a second-place finish in Calder's Hollywood Stakes Oct. 19. Regular rider Javier Santiago has the mount.

J. Paul Reddam and Rockin BB Ranch's Peach Flambe won the Cicada Stakes at Gulfstream Park in mid-April for trainer Mark Hennig. Most recently, the multiple stakes winner finished a close-up fourth in a stakes at Presque Isle Sept. 27. The 5-year-old daughter of Flying Chevron has been working at Payson Park for her return to Calder. She will be ridden by Edgar Prado.

Christmas Ship, seeking her first stakes win, slips in from the West Coast for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The 3-year-old Montbrook filly ran second in the Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs this summer and was third in the Bay Meadows Oaks in the spring.

Spirited Seacat, coming off back-to-back wins locally in optional claiming allowance races, steps up for trainer Henry Collazo. Amazing won an off-the-turf overnight stakes in front-running fashion at Calder Oct. 25 for trainer Terry Oliver. Cat Can Do ran fourth in the Hollywood, finishing only 1 1/4 lengths behind Annabill.

The other races on the Florida Million program are the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs; the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile and $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies, both for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs; and the $100,000 Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf and $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf, both for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on grass.

$200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap (Race 10, 4:21 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Mia's Reflection (FL), 113, Manoel R. Cruz
2. Tidal Dance (FL), 112, Carlos Olivero
3. Amazing (FL), 114, Jermaine V. Bridgmohan
4. Peach Flambe (FL), 118, Edgar S. Prado
5. Cat Can Do (FL), 116, Pascacio Lopez
6. Annabill (FL), 121, Javier Santiago
7. Christmas Ship (FL), 114, Cornelio H. Velasquez
8. Spirited Seacat (FL), 116, Wilmer Galviz

$200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap (Race 11, 4:47 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dream Maestro (FL), 116, Juan C. Leyva
2. Marnesia's Big Boy (FL), 114, Javier Santiago
3. Actin Good (FL), 119, Cornelio H. Velasquez
4. Hal's My Hope (FL), 112, Jose Alberto Rivera II
5. It's a Bird (FL), 120, Jermaine V. Bridgmohan
6. Sweetnorthernsaint (FL), 117, Pascacio Lopez
7. Atlantic Paws (FL), 113, Manoel R. Cruz
8. Finallymadeit (FL), 118, Eduardo O. Nunez

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