Calder's 'Extreme Day' Proves Popular

(from Calder report)
Calder Race Course presented "Extreme Day at the Races" on Saturday, a program that included the World's Fastest Daily Double, the King George's Wrong Way Stakes, and the Jockeys' Foot Race.

The unusual races were rained out on the original event date of July 22. The on-track attendance was 7,195.

Track bugler Wally McMurray brought the fields on the track for the first of the "extreme-themed" races – the fourth and fifth races – to "Merrily We Roll Along," the renowned "Looney Tunes" cartoon theme. The two races were run simultaneously, one on the turf, the other on the main track. The races finished about 36 seconds apart, thus making the event the "World's Fastest Daily Double." Over $42,000 was in the daily double pool and the wager returned $29.20.

Additional personnel were required in various positions to execute the World's Fastest Daily Double, from the gate crew to the stewards' stand to the television departments. The toughest job of the day was belonged to the announcer, Bobby Neuman, who had the challenging task of calling two races at once.

"I just went back and forth as much as I could," said Neuman. "I wanted to have fun with it and be as confusing as possible. I didn't want to focus on one race more than the other."

Neuman used binoculars to view the action of both races and his delivery was seamless. "Memorizing all the names wasn't too difficult," he said.

There were eight horses in the fourth race, which was won by Tiger Woodman, and eight horses in the fifth race, won by Cutie's Cloud.

"I wouldn't mind doing it again. It gets your heart pumping, that's for sure," Neuman said.

Later in the day, the King George's Wrong Way Stakes was run at about 1 3/8 miles on the turf "European Style," or clockwise. It was the first time for a race to be run in the opposite direction at Calder and the race was won by Happy Valley Stables' Joey Blueeyes.

Daniel Centeno, the winning jockey, said, "We worked this horse a mile going the wrong way on the turf the other day and he handled it just fine as he did today. I thought it would be a good idea, if my horse had any early speed at all, to put him on the lead, that way if any other horses in the race had difficulty negotiating the turns we could avoid them.

"I also thought it would be best to stay off of the rail a bit in case he didn't change leads instead of trying to force him into doing something he wasn't used to doing."

Winning trainer Henry Collazo added, "I didn't know I could hold my breath for two minutes.

"I don't think anybody can run with him at the distance, no matter the direction. He trained the wrong way here twice, going a strong seven-eighths and a mile.

"This was a thrill. I've never been this nervous. I've been in stakes races, but this was beyond that feeling."

Also on the Extreme Day card was the 2-furlong Fast N' Furious, won by Robert Cole's 5-year-old mare Rain Song. Trainer Michael Trombetta sent Rain Song to win the Rocket Man Stakes on the original Extreme Day card in July, which was contested over a sloppy track. She ran the Fast N' Furious in a quick time of 21.04 seconds under jockey Abel Castellano, Jr.

Earlier in the day, jockey Filiberto Camacho defended his title as Jockeys' Foot Race champion by defeating six of his fellow riders in a 70-yard-plus dash on the main track. A clear winner, he covered the distance in 10.58 seconds. Elis Roque finished second and Elvis Trujillo was third in the race for fun.

Other racing events on Extreme Day included:
-- $50,000 Wicapi Stakes for 3 year olds and upward going 1 ½ miles on the turf, won by Spider Power with jockey Joe Bravo.
-- $45,000 Methuselah II overnight stakes for 5 year olds and upward, won by Kipper's Night with Elvis Trujillo.
-- $45,000 Gray Pride II overnight stakes for 3 year olds and upward which are gray or roan in color, won by Prince Alphie with Bravo.