On paper, Kaleem Shah’s May Day Rose stands tall among the six 3-year-old fillies entered for the $150,000 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) as the lone 2010 graded stakes winner in the bunch. The fleet Florida-bred filly heads to Calder Casino and Race Course from her base in Southern California.
The Azalea is the first of four graded stakes on Calder's Summit of Speed card July 9. Post time is approximately 4:14 p.m. EDT.
Baffert and Shah will try to double up with their colt Smash in the $200,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) later on the program.
May Day Rose, by Rockport Harbor—May Day Bluff, by Pine Bluff, was bred by Bridlewood Farm. Trainer Bob Baffert purchased her for $220,000 for Shah last year out of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s June sale of 2-year-olds in training. She’s a three-time stakes winner this year, having annexed the seven-furlong Railbird Stakes (gr. III) May 21 in her last effort.
In nine starts, the bay filly has only ventured outside Southern California once, which turned out to be another winning effort in the one-mile Instant Racing Stakes April 16 on the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) undercard at Oaklawn Park. In advance of cutting back to six furlongs, she drilled a half-mile in :48 4/5 July 2 at Santa Anita.
Her toughest challenge figures to come from the top local runner Beso Grande. Trained by Stephen DiMauro for Half Hollow Racing, Beso Grande steps up to the graded level off back-to-back stakes wins over the same track and distance. On May 14 she rallied from fourth to win the $75,000 French Village Stakes by a half-length in 1:12.57, then came back June 11 to win the $73,000 Leave Me Alone Stakes by a head in 1:11.65.
Bred in Florida by Bruce Tallisman, Beso Grande is a daughter of sprint specialist Mass Media, out of the Kissin Kris mare Kiss for Kris. She sports a 4-2-3 slate from 10 starts.
Front-running White Merlot was second in the French Village and third in the Leave Me Alone. Drake Smith’s daughter of Proud Accolade bounced back June 25, running away in a six-furlong allowance by 7 1/4 lengths.
The lone non-Florida-bred in the field is Eldon Farm Equine’s Just Louise. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Five Star Day will be making her first start in more than a year. Her last outing was a neck victory in last June’s Debutante Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. She shows only two recent works on her form, a half-mile move in :52 June 22, and a five-furlong bullet of 1:00 2/5 June 29, both under the Twin Spires. Javier Castellano will be aboard for the first time for trainer Dale Romans.
$150,000, Azalea Stakes (gr. III, race 9, 4:14 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, 6 furlongs (Dirt)
Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Devilish Lady (FL), D. Centeno, 119, A. Sano
2. My Pal Chrisy (FL), L. Panici, 115, P. Lutchman
3. Beso Grande (FL), L. Jurado, 117, S. DiMauro
4. White Merlot (FL), J. Leyva, 115, R. Smith
5. May Day Rose (FL), M. Smith, 122, B. Baffert
6. Just Louise (KY), J. Castellano, 119, D. Romans