Brant Laue's 4-year-old Gun Salute and Live Oak Plantation's 3-year-old Can't Beat It face off in the $100,000 Tropical Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT), one of four stakes races set for Saturday's "Grand Slam I" card at Calder Race Course.
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez gets the call on Gun Salute for trainer Bill Mott in the 1 1/8 mile turf test, and Eddie Castro rides Can't Beat It for trainer Marty Wolfson in the competitive field of 12.
Mott has won the race twice in the past, including last year with Silver Tree, and Wolfson sent out The Vid to capture back-to-back editions in 1994-95.
Gun Salute was among the nation's leading 3-year-olds on turf last year with consecutive victories in the American Derby (gr. IIT) and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Derby (gr. III).
Can't Beat It was impressive winning the Calder Derby (gr. IIIT) here Oct. 14 by 3 ¼ lengths, three weeks before his trainer would send out stablemate Miesque's Approval to upset the NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. Can't Beat It finished a game second in the American Derby at Arlington in July, prior to the Calder Derby.
Another solid contender in the Tropical Turf should be Dogwood Stable's 4-year-old Drum Major, winner of the Knickerbocker Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct last out on Nov. 4.
Trained by George Weaver, the son of Dynaformer won his only start over the Calder course in the Pete Axthelm Stakes on New Year's Eve. Joe Bravo was aboard for the Knickerbocker score and gets the return call from the far outside post 12.
Tropical Turf Handicap, 1 1/8 miles, turf:
1 -- Siphon City, Elvis Trujillo, 112
2 -- Classic Campaign, Manoel Cruz, 115
3 -- Can't Beat It, Eddie Castro, 114
4 -- Bob's Proud Moment, Rene Douglas, 113
5 -- Ballast, Rafael Bejarano, 114
6 -- Host, Manuel Aguilar, 115
7 -- Dazzling Dr. Cevin, Daniel Centeno, 112
8 -- Interpetation, Tom Turner, 115
9 -- Giant Wrecker, Jose Velez, Jr., 114
10 -- Gun Salute, Cornelio Velasquez, 120
11 -- Knight in Flight, Jermaine Bridgmohan, 113
12 -- Drum Major, Joe Barvo, 116