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Who Will Step Forward in Carry Back?

Shippers Smash, Cal Nation take on Close It Out, Indiano, and wild card Bulaga.

The Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds during Calder Casino and Race Course's Summit of Speed program July 9 is a big opportunity for someone to step forward. Only six were entered for the $200,000 race that features but two minor stakes winners. However, there are a pair of colts that may be on the verge of a breakout race here.

Kaleem Shah’s Smash, a $400,000 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. select sale purchase, is a recent allowance winner that seems ready for graded stakes status, and WinStar Farm’s Cal Nation treads back into the deeper water after a recent allowance score at Belmont Park.

Looking to defend their home ground is Samuel Rogers Jr.’s Close It Out, winner of the Shake U Down Stakes at Gulfstream in April, and Stu El Aguila’s Indiano, the Panamanian champion who defeated Close It Out in Calder’s six-furlong Unbridled Stakes June. 11 for trainer Marty Wolfson.

The wild card in the Carry Back is Woodsfield Farm’s Bulaga. The homebred by Orientate, trained by David Fawkes, has only made one start, but vanquished maidens by 13 lengths getting 6 ½ furlongs in 1:18.85 June 10. The chestnut gelding fired a bullet half-mile work July 2 in :48.

Smash, a son of Smart Strike, out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Holliday, has been favored in all three of his starts. He broke his maiden last July at Hollywood Park, then was off until May 6 when he ran second to stablemate Coil in an allowance race. He bounced back with a nose score going 61/2 furlongs May 29. The Peter Blum-bred colt breaks from the rail and will have Mike Smith aboard.

Cal Nation has tried stakes company once, and finished a uncharacteristic eighth in the one-mile Jerome Stakes (gr. II) April 23 at Aqueduct. He was scratched from the July 3 Jersey Shore Stakes (gr. II) at Monmouth that was run over a sloppy track and is entered here.

By Distorted Humor , Cal Nation is out of She’s a Winner, by A.P. Indy, and is a half brother to last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver .

Bred by WinStar, he failed to meet his reserve at $335,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September sale, and backed their high regard for him by breaking his maiden Feb. 5 by 7 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream Park. He missed by a nose stretching out to a mile in an allowance at Gulfstream March 19 prior to the Jerome. After the Jerome, he crushed allowance foes by 5 1/2 lengths going six furlongs at Belmont May 26.

Close It Out, trained by Steve Towne, won three in a row in South Florida prior to running third in the Unbridled. By Closing Argument out of the End Sweep mare Honeymoon Sweep, Close It Out sports a 4-1-2 record from eight starts and is 1-1-1 from three starts over Calder’s main track.

Indiano was five-for-five in Panama and was named the champion imported 2-year-old. Bred in Kentucky by Diamond A Racing, he is by Indian Charlie out of the Sam M. mare Separata. Shipped to South Florida this spring he was second to Travelin Man in the seven-furlong Swale Stakes (gr. II) April 3 at Gulfstream. Shipped to Kentucky, he was fifth behind Machen and Dominus in the one-turn mile The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) before coming home to win the Unbridled by 4 ¼ lengths.

$200,000, Carry Back Stakes (gr. II, Race 10, 4:40 p.m. EDT), 3YO, 6 furlongs (Dirt)
Post. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1.    Smash (KY), M. Smith, 115, B. Baffert
2.    Cal Nation (KY), J. Castellano, 115, T. Pletcher
3.    Close It Out (FL), M. Cruz, 117, S. Towne
4.    Bulaga (FL), C. Velasquez, 115, D. Fawkes
5.    Silver Cloud, L. Jurado, 115, J. DaCosta
6.    Indiano (KY), L. Saez, 117, M. Wolfson