Calder Casino & Race Course will hold its annual Florida Million Nov. 13, featuring eight stakes races for Florida-breds.
Total purses for will be $1 million for the stakes at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track. That includes $400,000 from the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association from its fund for breeders’ and owners awards for Florida-breds.
The feature race, as usual for the Florida Million, is the $150,000 Carl G. Rose Classic at 1 1/8 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds and up. It has six entrants, and the probable favorite will be Duke of Mischief, if he runs in the race.
Trainer David Fawkes also is considering Duke of Mischief, a 4-year-old son of Graeme Hall , for the Clark Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 26 and the Hill ‘N Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct Nov. 27.
“We are going to stay at home,” Fawkes said the morning of Nov. 12. “It looks like there will be enough speed to set an honest pace, and I expect him to run a big race. He likes this track.”Eibar Coa, who is at Calder for its Tropical Meet, will ride.
Duke of Mischief has three 2010 wins--all in graded stakes. Those races were: the Fort Lauderdale (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) at Oaklawn, and the Phillip Iselin (gr. III) at Monmouth Park.
Other Carl G. Rose entrants are Riversrunrylee, Dream Maestro, King Ghidorah, Fly By Phil, and Birdrun.
In the absence of Duke of Mischief, the likely favorites are Birdrun and Riversrunrylee--two horses that probably will challenge for the lead.
Birdrun, trained by Bill Mott, will make his Calder debut. He is coming off a Sept. 22 win in a one-mile, $75,000 optional claiming race at Belmont Park, in which he earned a 105 Beyer Speed figure. Rajiv Maragh will ride.
Riversrunrylee, trained by Barry Croft, is coming off a sixth place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. II) at Calder Oct. 16. Before that, he won the Joey Blueeyes at a mile and 70 yards at Calder Sept. 25.
Carlos Olivero will ride Riversrunrylee in the Carl G. Rose.
The co-feature is the $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for fillies and mares, 3 years old and up.
The field of eight horses includes Successful Song--the winner of the 1 1/16 mile Judy’s Red Shoes at Calder Sept. 25. That race was moved from turf to dirt because of weather conditions.
Successful Song, a 3-year-old is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. and will be ridden by Luis Saez.
Trip for A.J., another 3-year-old, finished fourth in the Judy’s Red Shoes. She is coming off a win in the Oct. 16 Calder Oaks, at 1 1/8 miles over turf. Coa will ride for trainer Milt Wolfson.
The Elmer Heubeck field also has the Marty Wolfson-trained Amazing--a 5-year-old stakes veteran with five wins in 10 Calder career starts.
The $125,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap is 1 1/8 miles for 3 year olds and up.
The field of seven horses has the first three finishers in the Oct. 16 1 1/8-mile Calder Derby.
Tannersville beat Bim by a nose in that race, with Saint Dynaformer three lengths back in third.
The 6-year-old Pickapocket, second in last year’s Bonnie Heath, heads the race’s contingent of older horses.
The $125,000 Jack Dudley Sprint is six furlongs on dirt. You Luckie Mann is the probable favorite in the field of nine horses. He is trained by Marty Wolfson and will be ridden by Saez.
The Florida Million also has four stakes for 2-year-olds.
* The $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile, seven furlongs on dirt.
* The $125,000 Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies, seven furlongs on dirt.
* The $100,000 Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf, 1 1/16 miles.
* The $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf, 1 1/16 miles.
The Florida Million races are named in honor of breeders and owners who have played major roles in the development of the Florida Thoroughbred Industry.
The races are being held one week after this year’s Breeders’ Cup, in which Florida-breds won three of the 14 races, the most since 1985 when Sunshine State horses won four of the eight races.
This year’s Florida-bred Breeders’ Cup winners were: Big Drama (Sprint), Dubai Majesty (Filly & Mare Sprint), and Awesome Feather (Juvenile Fillies).
“The bottom line is that this points to the accomplishments of our Florida Breeders,” said Richard Hancock, executive vice president of the Florida TBOA. “It is a prominent reminder of the strength of the Florida breeding industry.”
Hancock said the Florida Million is “a very important day each year for Calder,” noting that Florida TBOA this year increased its Florida owners and breeders awards for 2-year-old races throughout the Calder season.
He said the Florida TBOA is talking with officials of Calder, Gulfstream Park, and Tampa Bay Downs for an expansion of their stakes programs for Florida-bred 3-year-olds, with FTBOA contributing to purses with breeders’ and owners’ awards.