Edward P. Evans' 5-year-old mare Gold Mover, who defeated Eclipse champion favorite Xtra Heat by a half-length in the Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) at Summit of Speed at Calder Race Course last year, returns Saturday to defend her title.
Jockey Jerry Bailey will be aboard for trainer Mark Hennig once again for a run at the $500,000 test at six furlongs. Gold Mover, the high weight at 118 pounds, should be the probable favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares.
Gold Mover was receiving 12 pounds from Xtra Heat in last year's memorable race, but won't have any breaks this year, making Saturday's race a formidable task. The 5-year-old homebred chestnut has piled up earnings of $1.2 million but has won only one of three starts this year.
She finished a dull third last out in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont park on June 8 and didn't appear to handle the muddy going that day in a race won by Flatbird Stable's 4-year-old filly Shawklit Mint.
That rival arrives on the same plane from New York with Gold Mover and will be ridden Saturday by Cornelio Velasquez for trainer Patrick Reynolds. A daughter of Air Forbes Won, Shawklit Mint has won four straight and appears to handle fast or wet conditions.
Another tough opponent for Gold Mover from New York is Eugene and Laura Melnyk's 5-year-old mare Harmony Lodge, with Eibar Coa getting the call for trainer Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Hennessy squared off twice with Gold Mover at Gulfstream last winter and they both won once with the other second. Harmony Lodge won the first in the Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup (gr. III) and Gold Mover the second in the Hurricane Bertie.$500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II), fillies and mares 3 & up, 6 furlongs
Calder Race Course - July 12th, 2003 - Race 11
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Miss Lodi (KY), 113, Patrick A. Valenzuela
2. Harmony Lodge (KY), 116, Eibar Coa
3. Gold Mover (KY), 118, Jerry D. Bailey
4. Slews Final Answer (KY), 113, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Shawklit Mint (NY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
6. For Rubies (MD), 115 , Craig Perret
7. Chispiski (FL), 114, Julio A. Garcia
8. Vision in Flight (FL), 110, Gary Boulanger