07/03/2003 11:00PM

All roads will lead to Miami for Summit of Speed card


MIAMI - The lure of $1.75 million in purses will have some of the top sprinters, trainers, and jockeys in the country heading to south Florida for next Saturday's Summit of Speed program at Calder.

The $500,000 Smile Sprint and Princess Rooney handicaps will highlight the card and both races are expected to attract outstanding talent from all across America.

Among those likely to ship down for the Grade 3 Smile are the Scott Lake-trained pair of Shake You Down and My Cousin Matt, Echo Eddie, Beau's Town, and Here's Zealous. Echo Eddie finished second behind Orientate, the eventual Breeders' Cup Sprint and Eclipse Award winner, in the 2002 Smile.

Locally based horses under consideration for the Smile include Built Up, Tour of the Cat, Lord Abounding, Juggernaut, Hear No Evil, and Swift Replica.

The Grade 2 Princess Rooney is also loaded with talent, led by Gold Mover, who in last year's race upset the then reigning 3-year-old filly winner Xtra Heat. Gold Mover may be joined by such speedy fillies and mares as Harmony Lodge, Shawklit Mint, For Rubies, and Slews Final Answer. Local possibilities for the race include Vision in Flight, Tchula Miss, and Chispiski.

The $300,000 Carry Back could be a homecoming for King Robyn and Cajun Beat, both of whom began their careers at Calder. Among the other invaders listed as possible for the race are Halo Homewrecker, Coach Jimi Lee, Roll Hennessy Roll, Valid Video, and Zavata.

The local 3-year-old contingent is headed by Awesome of Course, Lawbook, and Super Fuse.

The $300,000 Azalea, filly counterpart to the Carry Back, will feature the third meeting between Storm Flag and Crafty Brat. They are expected to be joined in the field by out of towners Buffythecenterfold, Angela's Love, Ebony Breeze, and Littemiss Sparkle. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. will send out the pair of Big League Lady and All the Honor.

Among the riders tentatively scheduled to fly in for the races are Jerry Bailey, Patrick Valenzuela, Alex Solis, Victor Espinoza, Joe Bravo, Mike Luzzi, and former hometown favorites Eibar Coa and Cornelio Velasquez.

Vitale cheers on It's Awesome Baby

ESPN's college basketball analyst Dick Vitale was among the celebrating owners after the aptly named It's Awesome Baby - name for one of Vitale's catchphrases - captured his career debut in Friday's ninth race.

Vitale owns 25 percent of the 2-year-old It's Awesome Baby. The ownership group also includes Louisville University basketball coach Rick Pitino.

"I used to take tours of the farms in Kentucky when I was out there to do a game and always said that someday I'd like to own a horse," Vitale said, after posing with It's Awesome Baby in the winner's circle. "One day Rick called me and said he had 25 percent of this horse available and asked if I'd like to join the group. I said okay, and when he asked me what I'd like to name the horse, the answer was obvious. I told him 'It's Awesome Baby.' "

It's Awesome Baby, a son of Lost Soldier trained by Cam Gambolati, had to overcome a slow start and wide trip to outgame Taiwan Charlie under jockey Gary Boulanger. He paid $5.

"I'm not a gambler by any means," said Vitale. "Just a guy out here having fun. I had my two daughters, my two sons-in-law and three grandchildren with me today, and win or lose it was a fun afternoon."

* Hunch bettors appeared on the verge of cashing a big ticket when the 10-1 Fourth of July bore down on the leaders in the opening race on Friday's holiday program. But the 2-year-old colt hung in the final strides and finished third. Wander Time, a half-brother to the stakes winner Wander Mom, dueled throughout and proved a game debut winner for Plesa.

* Lost Appeal and What a Price, who finished a neck apart while dominating the rest of the competition in the Solo Haina Stakes earlier in the meet, will square off again, weather permitting, in Sunday's $40,000 Mia's Hope Stakes. Redoubled Miss and Stormy Frolic would be the ones to beat should the race come off the grass.