Four-year-old Supah Blitz, now a California resident, returned to his roots Saturday at Calder Race Course and won the $200,000 Carl Rose Classic, a race for Florida-breds that is part the track's Florida Million program.
Jockey Jerry Bailey guided Supah Blitz to the outside for the stretch run and the dark bay son of Mecke responded under pressure while appearing to drift out a bit to win by a length over Hear No Evil. Bob's Proud Moment finished third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner. The final time was 1:52 2/5 for the 1 1/8-mile event.Supah Blitz was developed at Calder as a 2-year-old by Manny Tortora and raced for him and Bee Bee Stables through August before being sold privately to Mark Lieb, Kagele Brothers and Black Saddle Stable and sent to top west coast trainer Doug O'Neill. Since the transaction, Supah Blitz has thrived in California in two starts, winning the Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) and finishing third in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita. His successful return to Florida as the 2-5 choice in a field of seven marked his sixth career victory and his fourth at Calder. He won the Jack Price Juvenile during the inaugural Florida Million in 2002. A slow pace for the 1 1/8-mile race was set by Hear No Evil (:24 2/5, :49, 1:12 4/5, 1:38 3/5), ridden by leading rider Eddie Castro. Jockey Jerry Bailey seemed to have the race measured, however, and got Supah Blitz rolling down the stretch."We were a little scared there with the slow fractions, but he's a classy horse and Jerry is a classy rider," O'Neill said. "We thought he had a lot to do with the slow fractions and when 49 came up on the board (for the half) and we were four or five (lengths) back, I said, 'Geez, I thought we'd be up front.' "But Jerry had him measured. He (Supah Blitz) can get a little lazy when he gets the lead, fooling around. But he's been pretty even. He is so consistent."Supah Blitz pushed his career earnings to $968,610 with a record of 6-12-5 in 32 starts.The Carl Rose Classic was Bailey's second stakes win of the afternoon. Earlier he rode Flamenco to win the Jack Price Juvenile. "I wasn't too worried about the slow pace because this track is not as fast as what he is used to running on in California," Bailey said. That allowed me to be patient and wait to make our move."Supah Blitz paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Hear No Evil returned $8 and $2.10. Bob's Proud Moment's show was $2.20.(Chart, Equibase)