Multiple graded stakes winner It's a Bird returns to Florida for the first time since taking the Sunshine Millions Classic in January as the 122-pound high weight in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, the co-main event in the annual Florida Million program for state-breds at Calder Casino & Race Course Nov. 14.
In the main companion co-feature, the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap at 1 1/16 miles, stakes winner Annabill, lifetime winner of 17 of 36 starts at Calder, carries top weight of 119 pounds in a well-matched field of nine fillies and mares. In all, the Florida Million card consists of eight stakes races worth a combined $1.2 million.
The millionaire 6-year-old It's a Bird, trained by Marty Wolfson for owner Edmund Gann, last raced Oct. 16, finishing seventh of eight in the Meadowlands Cup (gr. II) in sloppy conditions at the New Jersey track. It was the third consecutive loss for the son of Birdonthewire since he won the Lone Star Park Handicap (gr. III) as the odds-on choice May 25. He was a dominating 5 1/4-length winner of the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park Jan. 24, his only other win from eight starts in 2009.
Regular rider Julien Leparoux, fresh from a three-win Breeders' Cup weekend at Santa Anita, has the mount on It's a Bird, who breaks from post 3 in the seven-horse field going 1 1/8 miles. The dark bay horse brings a lifetime mark of 10-4-2 and earnings of $1,136,985 from 33 starts to the fray.
Trainer William Kaplan enters three in the Rose Classic -- Dream Maestro, Imawildandcrazyguy and Temo's Dream.
Dream Maestro, owned by Ione and Herbert Elkins, finished fourth in the Spend A Buck Handicap (gr. III) Oct. 17 at Calder, where the 4-year-old Concerto gelding has won just once in 14 starts. Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner's 4-year-old Imawildandcrazyguy posted his first win in 11 starts this year when he captured an allowance race over a sloppy track at Calder in his last race Sept. 12. Vicino Racing Stables' Temo's Dream seeks his first stakes win.
Calder specialist Too Many Toyz, a winner of 10 of his 24 starts at the track, steps into stakes company with three-race winning streak in optional claiming races for trainer Luis Olivares.
Rose Family Stable's Hal's My Hope, trained by Barry Rose, attempts to break a 26-race losing streak over the past two years. Pound Foolish completes the field.
The Heubeck Distaff is wide open, making the 6-year-old Annabill's Calder record, which includes 29 in-the-money performances, difficult to overlook. Trained by Stephen DiMauro for Kenwood Racing, the daughter of Outflanker will break from post 3 with Jose Santiago aboard. Annabill, who was beaten by a nose in an allowance race on a sloppy track at Meadowlands in her last start Oct 16, has earned nearly $700,000 in her career.
Farnsworth Stables' Jessica Is Back dominated the Nancy's Glitter Handicap on a sloppy track at Calder over the summer for Wolfson, and tuned up for this spot with a third-place finish in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on a fast track Oct. 17. The 5-year-old Put It Back mare has won nine times in 37 lifetime starts with earnings of $342,085.
Sweet Repent, from the J. David Braddy barn, has back-to-back nose victories on the Calder main track, taking the off-the-turf Judy's Red Shoes in her most recent try Sept. 26.
Other stakes winners in the field are Bob's Jawbreaker and Many Kisses.
Also on the Florida Million card are the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap at six furlongs; The $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile and the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies, both at seven furlongs; and the $100,000 Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf and the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf, both at 1 1/16 miles.
$200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap (Race 9, 3:51 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Cat Can Do (FL), L Saez, 115, R Ziadie
2. Sweetsouthernqueen (FL), P Monterrey, Jr., 115, V L Blengs
3. Annabill (FL), J Santiago, 119, S L DiMauro
4. Many Kisses (FL), J Sanchez, 115, S Everett
5. Even Road (FL), E Coa, 117, S M Ersoff
6. Jessica Is Back (FL), J R Leparoux, 118, M D Wolfson
7. One Proud Lady (FL), C Olivero, 114, A Cioffi
8. Bob's Jawbreaker (FL), J Bravo, 115, D G Potter
9. Sweet Repent (FL), M R Cruz, 115, J D Braddy
$200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic (Race 11, 4:43 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Hal's My Hope (FL), J A Rivera II, 114, B R Rose
2. Too Many Toyz (FL), C Olivero, 112, L Olivares
3. It's a Bird (FL), J R Leparoux, 122, M D Wolfson
4. Imawildandcrazyguy (FL), E Coa, 115, W A Kaplan
5. Dream Maestro (FL), M R Cruz, 116, W A Kaplan
6. Pound Foolish (FL), L Saez, 112, E Tortora
7. Temo's Dream (FL), J Bravo, 114, W A Kaplan