Updated on 09/16/2011 8:42AM

Best of the Rest takes Rose

Jean Raftery
Best of the Rest comes out of the darkness descending on Calder Saturday to capture the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, the final race on the inaugural Florida Million card.

MIAMI - Best of the Rest put an exclamation mark on Calder's inaugural Florida Million card when he rallied from out of the darkness to post a 1 1/2-length victory over The Judge Sez Who and four others in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic. The Rose was one of six statebred stakes races worth a combined $1 million on Saturday's program.

Best of the Rest gave Jerry Bailey his second stakes winner on the card. Earlier, he won the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup aboard Miesque's Approval.

Best of the Rest ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.87 over a fast track and returned $2.80 to win while completing an all stakes pick four which paid $52.50 for a $1 wager. The other winners in the pick four were Miesque's Approval ($3), Coolbythepool ($11.20), and Tour of the Cat ($8.80).

The sun had long set and a light drizzle was falling when the field of six left the gate for the Rose Classic. Bailey was content to allow Best of the Rest to stalk the pace of Island Skipper for nearly seven furlongs before the pair readily overtook the leader entering the stretch. Best of the Rest quickly forged clear while angled out even further into the track, then had little trouble holding off late bids from The Judge Sez Who and Dancing Guy.

The Judge Sez Who was steadied at the start, remained last after the opening half mile, swung wide into the stretch, but couldn't sustain his bid while all out to hold safe the late charge of Dancing Guy. Island Skipper tired to be fourth followed by Bog Hunter and Slippery Gator.

Best of the Rest has now won 13 of 25 starts in a career that has been plagued by injuries.

"This horse is remarkable," said Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains Best of the Rest for his breeder Bea Oxenberg. "He's 7 years old, soon to be 8, and running as well as he did when he was a 3-year-old. With all his injuries he could have easily turned into a claiming horse if it wasn't for the patience of the Oxenbergs."