Calder Casino & Race Course has released a stakes schedule for 2012 that includes the return of the Calder Derby and Oaks after a one-year absence from the calendar and purse increases for the Princess Rooney (gr. I) and Smile Sprint (gr. II) handicaps.
Calder hosts two consecutive meets: the 85-day Calder Meet from April 9 to Aug. 31, and the 65-day Tropical Meet from Sept. 1 to Dec. 2. The Calder Meet offers 31 stakes worth $3,475,000 and the Tropical Meet will feature 27 stakes totaling $3,175,000 for a combined stakes program worth $6,650,000.
The $150,000 Calder Derby for 3-year-olds will be run April 14 and the $100,000 Calder Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is set for April 28. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap (gr. IIIT) at a mile on turf for 3-year-olds and up will be run on April 21.
The Miami-area track is also adding a Calder Starter Series, a four-race series designed for 4-year-olds and up that have started for a claiming price of $20,000 or less in 2011 or 2012. Each race carries a $50,000 purse (including $5,000 in Florida Owners’ Awards) and the series offers a $5,000 bonus to the trainer of the horse that accumulates the most points after the fourth race of the series. Points are allocated to the top six finishers of each race. Dates for the Calder Starter Series are April 14 (seven furlongs, dirt), April 28 (mile on turf), May 12 (one mile and 70 yards, dirt), and May 26 (1 1/16 miles, turf) with nominations closing on March 26.
“The stakes races in April, along with the Calder Starter Series, are designed to be early hallmarks to Calder’s race meet,” says Calder vice president and general manager of racing John Marshall in a release.
Highlights of the 2012 Calder Meet include the Summit of Speed on July 7, with a Summit Preview day on June 9. Purses of the Princess Rooney Handicap and Smile Sprint Handicap on the Summit of Speed card have been increased to $400,000 each (from $350,000 in 2011).
The $150,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. III), $150,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III), $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint Handicap, and $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Handicap round out this year’s Summit of Speed stakes program.
Calder will present the on Aug. 25, a day dedicated to 2-year-old racing featuring the middle leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes. The day’s six stakes races total $550,000.
The 2012 Tropical Meet will feature three multiple-stakes event days: the Festival Preview on Sept. 15, Festival of the Sun on Oct. 13, and the Florida Million on Nov. 10; plus, five graded stakes will be contested during the final weeks of the season.