The front end was the place to be as Amazing and Finallymadeit scored pacesetting victories in the richest races on the Florida Million program at Calder Race Course Nov. 8.
Amazing won the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap for fillies and mares by a nose over Annabill, getting the lead soon after the start and just holding on while drifting in the stretch in response to urging from jockey Jermaine Bridgmohan.
Finallymadeit, under Eduardo Nunez, shook loose of the field coming into the stretch and ran away to a 6 1/4-length romp at odds of 16-1 in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap.
Elsewhere on the $1.2-million Florida Million card, an anticipated showdown in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup between streaking Soldier's Dancer and the reliable old pro Silver Tree never materialized when the even-money choice Soldier's Dancer stumbled at the start and dropped rider Manoel Cruz. The 8-year-old multiple graded stakes winner Silver Tree then weakened approaching the eighth pole after leading in the stretch to finish fourth, enabling Icy Atlantic to spring a 5-1 surprise.
Other winners were Salo Jak (Jack Price Juvenile), Exe (John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf), Frolic's Dream (Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies), Yesbyjimminy (Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap), and Tamborim (Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf).
$200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap: Finallymadeit ($34, $15.20, $9.60) was able to stake a controlling lead while posting conservative fractions along the inside into the stretch, then quickly drew away in the 1 1/8-mile main track event.
Early fractions were :23.65, :48.81 and 1:13.37, with a final time of 1:52.15.
Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing's 4-year-old Concerto colt was coming off a sixth-place finish after fading on the front end in the Spend a Buck Handicap (gr. III), a race that drew a number of Rose contestants. Javier Negrete trains Finallymadeit, who has won 12 of 25 starts at Calder and is 13 for 35 lifetime with earnings of $602,365 after collecting a winner's share of $120,000.
“I’ve ridden this horse many times before, and I knew if he got to the lead and relaxed a bit that he wouldn’t just win, but win easily," said Nunez, who won twice on the Florida Million card. "Last time out in the Spend a Buck, we were on the lead but got a lot of pressure and went too fast. Today, he popped right out there as usual but the difference was slowing down the fractions.”
Rolbea Stables and Rolando Rodriguez co-bred the chestnut colt, who is out of Gold for My Gal, by Gold Alert.
"Last year, he was the leading sprinter in Florida, although he also ran well the two times he ran long," said Rodriguez. "After he didn’t run any good in three straight sprint races this year, he was telling us he didn’t want to do that anymore. So we changed strategy and trained him to go long and he loves it."
He said Negrete, who was unable to attend the race because he is with his ill mother in Mexico, has targeted the Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park Jan. 24 for Finallymadeit.
Dream Maestro ($7.40, $4.60), ridden by Juan Leyva, closed better than the rest to get second by one length over Actin Good and Cornelio Velasquez. Favored It's a Bird finished fourth.
$200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap: Marilyn Fazio Seltzer's homebred Amazing ran her winning streak to three with an all-out effort to defeat Annabill. Then Amazing's connections, including jockey Bridgmohan and trainer Terrance Oliver, had to sweat out a claim of foul lodged by Javier Santiago, aboard Annabill, for interference in the stretch.
"I thought when our filly came out she was a length clear and didn’t bother the other horse," Oliver said of the stewards' review of the foul claim. "Going into the race, I thought we might be the speed, and it worked out well.”
Amazing, a 3-year-old daughter of Greatness—Total Wonder, by Awesome Again , has won four times, all at Calder, in seven starts at the South Florida track. She has been blanked in five starts elsewhere.
She completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46.89 on the main track after posting early fractions of :24.75, :49.21, and 1:13.91.
"She’s really blossomed beautifully and improves every time," said Bridgmohan after his second win on the Florida Million card. "She’s relaxing and rating better on the lead, but when I need her, she’s there.”
Amazing ($13, $6.60, $4.20) increased her earnings to $201,935.
Annabill ($3.80, $2.60) finished three lengths clear of Christmas Ship and Velasquez, with favored Peach Flambe fourth.
$100,000 Arthur I. Appleton Juvenile Turf: Favored Tamborim, ridden by Edgar Prado, rallied in the stretch to gain the lead inside the eighth pole and just outlasted Adari and Cruz by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile event over firm going.
Owned and bred by Haras Santa Maria de Araras, Tamborim was coming off a third-place finish against first-level allowance rivals at Keeneland and was making his stakes debut for trainer Bill Mott. The colt by Belong to Me—Miu Miu, by Kris S., broke his maiden at Arlington Park Sept. 4.
Tamborim ($4.80, $3.20, $2.40) stalked the pace before pouncing on the leaders in the stretch, opening a clear advantage at the sixteenth pole, but he was all-out to nip Adari ($4.60 $3.20), who closed from last. This Ones for Phil (43.20), ridden by Elvis Trujillo, was 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third. The final time was 1:44.24. Tamborim has two wins in five starts and earnings of $84,226.
$150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap: With Paco Lopez in the irons, Favored Yesbyjimminy caught Ruby's Red Socks approaching the final sixteenth and was fully extended to tally a three-quarter of a length win over the rallying Hypocrite. It was the fifth consecutive win for the son of Yes It's True—Sisters Creek, by Pentelicus.
The Trilogy Stable homebred Yesbyjimminy notched his 10th lifetime win, all at Calder, in 20 starts and boosted his bankroll to $503,800. Edward Plesa Jr. trains the winner, who now has won three stakes in succession.
Lopez had Yesbyjimminy forwardly placed while chasing Ruby's Red Socks, who set a fast pace in the six-furlong event. Yesbyjimminy ($5.20, $2.80, $2.40) finally caught the front-runner and completed the win in 1:11.09 over Hypocrite ($10, $6), who trailed early under Pedro Monterrey Jr. and made an explosive move through the lane on the outside. How's Your Halo ($4.40), with Leyva aboard, was only a head back in third while finishing well.
$150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies: Frolic's Dream, sent off at 1-2 with Bridgmohan in the irons, shot away on the inside to build a commanding lead in the stretch and won by a measured 1 1/4 lengths while well in hand over five 2-year-old rivals going seven furlongs.
Owned by Dare to Dream Farm, Frolic's Dream ($3, $2.10, $2.10) set fractions of :21.97 and :45.22 en route to victory for trainer Marty Wolfson. After completing the last furlong in more than 14 seconds, the final clocking was 1:24.95. Trippi's Greatstar ($3.20, $2.40), with Lopez aboard, finished second by 4 1/2 lengths over Tiger's Song ($4) and Santiago.
Bred by Robert A. Murphy and Dr. Sandy L. Price-Murphy, Frolic's Dream is a gray filly by Smoke Glacken—Flashy Frolic, by Premiership.
$100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf: Exe, ridden by Cruz, wore down favored Ameribelle in the final furlong to post a half-length win in the 1 1/16-mile test, which drew a full field of 12.
Plesa trains the winner for James A. Riccio. Padua Stables bred Exe, who is by Exchange Rate—Exaggerate, by Cat Thief.
Exe ($12.20, $5.20, $3.60) was reserved early, hooking up with the leaders in the stretch after closing the gap on the outside, then dueled with Ameribelle ($4, $3.40), ridden by Lopez, to gain the victory. Cumana ($6.20) was 2 1/4 lengths back in the show spot.
$150,000 Jack Price Juvenile: An unhurried Salo Jak made an inside move for the stretch run and rallied to get up for a 1 1/4-length victory over favored Three Part Harmony even though jockey Santiago lost his whip nearing the finish.
Salo Jak ($12.20, $4.40, $3.40) completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:24.90 following fractions of :22.33 and :45.71 set by Big Push, who faded to fourth. Three Part Harmony ($3, $2.60), ridden by Cruz, settled for second, two lengths in front of Bidham ($8.80) and Trujillo.
A chestnut colt by Graeme Hall—Fafnir, by Inspired Prospect, Salo Jak is trained by Gilberto Zerpa for owner Mi Jak Racing Stable. Mark Casse is the winning breeder.
$150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap: Grade II winner Icy Atlantic stalked pacesetters Rachel's Dancer and Silver Tree around the far turn in the 1 1/8-mile test, then pulled away under a strong hand ride by Velasquez to score by 1 1/4 lengths over Magic Mecke.
A 7-year-old bay horse by Stormy Atlantic —Frosty Promise, by Frosty the Snowman, Icy Atlantic completed the distance in 1:50.32 and paid $12., $5.80, and $9.60. Magic Mecke, ridden by Lopez, returned $6.60 and $9. Fair Weather Stan, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up under Santiago, was $15.80 to show.
Todd Pletcher trains Icy Atlantic for James Scatuorchio. Arthur I. Appleton was the winning breeder.