Shippers Target 'Summit of Speed' Races

Calder Race Course posted entries July 7 for its July 12 Summit of Speed, a card with a quartet of six-furlong graded stakes that has become the highlight of the year at the South Florida track.

Calder released its draw for the Summit of Speed just minutes before parent Churchill Downs Inc. officially announced the signing of Calder purse and slot machine contracts with the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. With those contracts signed, the Florida HBPA lifted its ban on Calder being able to send its signal to tracks outside Florida.

That will enable fans around the country to watch and wager on a card that includes high-profile shippers Benny the Bull, Looky Yonder, Dream Rush, and Lantana Mob, and local favorite Golden Spikes. But Calder is among several tracks that have not signed 2008 contracts with advance deposit wagering companies. Barring a settlement in talks between the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Group and CDI, the Summit of Speed will not be available to most ADW bettors.

The July 12 card is headed by Calder’s only grade I stakes--the Princess Rooney Handicap for fillies and mares, 3-years old and up. The Princess Rooney and the Smile Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year olds and up both have purses of $400,000. Both races were set for $500,000 before Calder announced a series of purse cuts May 9.

The Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year olds and the Azalea Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year old fillies both have purses of $200,000 rather than their originally scheduled $250,000. Despite the purse cuts, Calder officials believe they have one of their stronger cards for the Summit of Speed, which the track first held in 2000.

But even with some standouts, the four races drew just 31 entrants.
 
Smile: Benny the Bull, owned by a partnership led by IEAH Stables, heads a field of nine horses. The 5-year old Rick Dutrow trainee is coming off four straight six-furlong wins in major stakes. His last loss was a fourth-place finish on a sloppy track in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.

Maggi Moss’ Indian Chant, winner of the May 31 Aristides (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, is among four shippers in the Smile.

Princess Rooney: Landson B. Robbins III’s Looky Yonder and Halsey Minor’s Dream Rush are coming off a one-two finish in the 6 ½ furlong Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park May 25, while Puglisi Stable’s Miraculous Miss finished second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Monmouth.

Carry Back: Vinery Stable’s Lantana Mob won the May 17 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course, M375 Thoroughbreds and Suarez Racing Stable’s Golden Spikes beat Timothy S. O’Toole’s Gentleman James by a head in the Unbridled Stakes at Calder, and Southern Equine Stable’s Salute the Sarge has won three stakes in California.

Azalea: Bahadur Cheema’s Dancing Allstar will get attention just from her cross-continent trip to Calder She is coming off a six-race winning streak at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta. Jill and David Heerensperger’s Indyanne has won all three of her starts, all in Northern California.

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