Caller One, winning the Los Angeles Handicap in May.

Caller One, winning the Los Angeles Handicap in May.

Caller One Sidelined in Dash Aftermath; Frankel Makes Eclipse Case for Squirtle Squirt

Caller One suffered a slight injury while finishing sixth in Saturday's Frank De Francis Memorial Dash (gr. I) won by Delaware Township, trainer Jim Chapman said.

"He cut his left ankle pretty deep leaving the gate and may need stitches," said Chapman.

Chapman continued to say that Caller One will now be put away in preparation for a defense of his win in the rich Dubai Golden Shaheen.

"If he had won, we would have run him back here in the Underwood (Dec. 2) to make a late run for the Eclipse," said the conditioner. "Now, I'll just let him heal and get ready to defend in the Dubai Golden Shaheen."

Meanwhile, trainer Bobby Frankel feels Delaware Township's win over several of Squirtle Squirt's Eclipse Award rivals in the De Francis Dash makes his 3-year-old a cinch for the honors. Frankel said Squirtle Squirt now will skip his possible start in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes (Dec. 26).

"It's a no-brainer now," said Frankel. "No way am I going to run him again this year and give any (Eclipse) voter the excuse he got beat."

Frankel may also point Squirtle Squirt toward the Golden Shaheen.

While Frankel may believe Delaware Township's defeat of Kona Gold, Xtra Heat and Caller One in the De Francis Dash gives his Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) winner the upper hand in the sprint division of Eclipse balloting, a case could also be made for the winner.

The victory in the prestigious Dash marks Delaware Township's second grade I win on the year, equaling Squirtle Squirt, who earned one of those grade I wins in a race restricted to 3-year-olds. Aside from Delaware Township's grade I wins -- the first of which came in the Forego Handicap at Saratoga –- the 5-year-old Ben Perkins Jr. trainee also earned a repeat win in the grade II Forest Hills Handicap and a listed stakes win at Delaware Park. In defeat, Delaware Township finished second in three graded stakes at three different tracks. He was also sixth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and fourth in his seasonal debut in the Mr. Prospector Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream in January.

In the De Francis, Delaware Township soundly defeated second-place Early Flyer, who defeated Squirtle Squirt in the in the the Lazaro Barrera Memorial Dash (gr. III)in their only meeting.

For his part, Squirtle Squirt won three of six starts on the year while finishing second in each of his defeats. He also has the considerable weight of the Breeders' Cup win on his side.