A pair of old pros, 6-year-old Mr. Livingston and 9-year-old Unite's Big Red, bid for repeat victories in the $150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) Monday at Calder Race Course.
Mr. Livingston, winner of the Miami Mile in 2001, shoulders top weight of 117 pounds and will be ridden by leading jockey Manoel Cruz in the one-mile turf course test, which attracted an overflow number of 17 3-year-olds and up. Only 12 will start.
Trained by Bill Kaplan, Mr. Livingston is a roan/gray horse by El Prado and comes off a victory in the Nijinsky's Secret overnight stakes over the course on July 25. He has earned more than $400,000.
Unite's Big Red has his work cut out for him with jockey Paul Toscano aboard for his first start since finishing fourth in this race last Labor Day. The chestnut gelding by Unite has been plagued by feet problems over the years, but is in good shape for his return.
A winner of $828,000, Unite's Big Red won the 1998 edition of the Miami Mile when trained by his owner. Monday, he makes his first start for trainer Dave Vivian Jr. after running for trainer Gary Cortolillo the past two seasons.
The most intriguing prospect in the full field is Jacqueline Tortora and Bee Bee Stable's 3-year-old Supah Blitz with jockey Cornelio Velasquez flying in for the mount. Trained by Manny Tortora, the homebred son of Mecke finished fourth last out behind undefeated Soto in the rich West Virginia Derby (gr. III) at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 9.
Supah Blitz has run well in his only two starts on turf, beginning with the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) on New Year's Day when third to Nothing To Lose. In his only try on grass since then he was very impressive defeating older horses in a good allowance over the course on July 1.
Double G Stable's Tour of the Cat has won only one of 11 career starts on turf, but with five seconds and four thirds, the 5-year-old gelding has only been off the board just once on the green. Trained by Myra Mora since she claimed him for Double G for $25,000 early in his career, the son of Tour d'Or has earned over $600,000.
Most of that bankroll came from main track sprint stakes, but he would be dangerous on a good day. Tour of the Cat makes his first start since a rare dull effort when sixth in the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. III) on July 12. In a good try on turf in February, he finished second to Burning Roma in the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup.
Thomas Croley's 4-year-old gelding Stormy Roman is definitely in with a chance after just missing when beaten a head last out by Mr. Livingston in the Nijinsky's Secret. Trained by Tim Hills, the son of Future Storm won the Pete Axthelm Handicap here last September over a strong field.$150,000 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), 3 7 up, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Last Stand (KY), 113, Jesus L. Castanon
2. Lavender's Lad (FL), 113, Jose O. Alferez
3. Dustys Birthday (KY), 113, Jose J. Delgado
4. Tour of the Cat (FL), 114, Abad Cabassa, Jr.
5. Unite's Big Red (FL), 115, Paul R. Toscano
6. Tammany Star (KY), 113, Phillip A. Teator
7. Stauch (KY), 114, Gary Boulanger
8. Stormy Roman (FL), 114, Manuel Aguilar
9. Hear No Evil (FL), 114, Eduardo O. Nunez
10. Shotgun Fire (FL), 113, Julio A. Garcia
11. Mr. Livingston (KY), 117, Manoel R. Cruz
12. Supah Blitz (FL), 115, Cornelio H. VelasquezAlso Eligible
13. Longford Arms (FL), 112, Gary Boulanger
14. Win's Fair Lady (KY), 110, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
15. Callthesheriff (FL), 113, Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr.
16. Cellars Merlot (FL), 113, Manuel Aguilar
17. True Love's Secret (FL), 112, Cornelio H. Velasquez