Trainer Marty Wolfson, who last won the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) back in 1996, has a decent chance to get back to the winner’s circle in the 2010 edition, as he will saddle four of the 13 runners in the $350,000 race.
The Princess Rooney, for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the dirt, is the headliner on Calder Casino & Race Course’s July 10 Summit of Speed program that features four graded stakes worth more than $1 million. The winner of the Princess Rooney will also earn an automatic berth in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
The 121-pound high weight in the race is Dr. Zic, the lone grade I winner in the field. Hour Glass and Dubai Majesty both enter the Princess Rooney off graded stakes wins. Post time is set for 5:41 EDT.
Wolfson’s best chance may be with Andrew Rosen’s First Passage, a four-time stakes winner at Calder. The 4-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway enters off a win in the six-furlong U Can Do It Handicap on June 12 when she got up late to win by a half-length over stablemate Saratoga Tango.
First Passage won three consecutive Calder stakes in 2009, including the Azalea (gr. III) on last year’s Summit of Speed program. She ended her sophomore season with a solid fourth-place effort in the grade I Test Stakes at Saratoga when beaten less than two lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by ClassicStar 2004 Powerfoal Stable and out of the Dehere mare Win’s Fair Lady, she was a $1.2 million Keeneland yearling in 2007. The dark bay/brown filly, who will be ridden by Jermaine Bridgmohan and break from post 13, is 5-1-1 from 10 lifetime starts.
Wolfson’s other entrants are Timothy O’Toole’s Saratoga Tango, who is seeking her first win since December, 2008; Stud El Aguila’s Saintly Rose, the fourth-place finisher in the U Can Do It; and Farnsworth Stables’ Jessica Is Back, who won the Ocala Stakes at Gulfstream in March and is graded stakes placed twice in 2010. Jessica Is Back set the pace last out in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. III) June 12 at Churchill before being swallowed by eventual winner Rachel Alexandra en route to a distant third-place effort.
Wolfson won back-to-back runnings of the Princess Rooney in 1995 with Miss Gibson County and in 1996 with Chaposa Springs.
Dr. Zic, a 4-year-old Milwaukee Brew filly, won the Vinery Madison (gr. I) in wire-to-wire fashion on the Keeneland Polytrack in April for her first graded stakes triumph. The speedy chestnut set the pace in the Hendrie Stakes (Can-III) at Woodbine in her most recent start May 16, but was caught in the final furlong and settled for runner-up. The Joan Scott trainee will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.
Dubai Majesty romped by 4 1/2 lengths last out in the Winning Colors (gr. III) May 31 at Churchill, the second straight year she won that event. Though seventh in last year’s Princess Rooney, the Essence of Dubai filly is a four-time winner at Calder. Miguel Mena will be aboard for Bret Calhoun.
Hour Glass comes in off a victory in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont May 29 for her first graded win. The 4-year-old Petionville filly has won three of five starts in 2010 for Todd Pletcher, who won last year's Princess Rooney with Game Face.
$350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I, Race 11, 5:41 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Saintly Rose (FL), E S Prado 113 M D Wolfson
2. Golden Mystery (FL), L Saez 114 J Pinchin
3. Jessica Is Back (FL), E Trujillo 116 M D Wolfson
4. Hour Glass (KY), D Cohen 119 T A Pletcher
5. Mother Ruth (KY), R Albarado 117 B Baffert
6. Saratoga Tango (TX), E Nunez 113 M D Wolfson
7. Dr. Zic (KY), K J Desormeaux 121 J Scott
8. Dubai Majesty (FL), M Mena 120 W B Calhoun
9. Warbling (KY), J R Leparoux 119 E Kenneally
10. Don'ttalktome (KY), M R Cruz 115 C J Stewart
11. Reachforthecastle (KY), M Aguilar 112 J L Lopez
12. Nicky Boy (CA), V Espinoza 108 J Maldonado
13. First Passage (KY), J V Bridgmohan 117 M D Wolfson