07/05/2012 2:31PM

Calder: Azalea pits Citizen Advocate and Another Romance once again


MIAMI – If Saturday’s $150,000 Azalea Stakes has a familiar look, it should. Five of the nine 3-year-old fillies slated to contest the Grade 3 dash on the Summit of Speed card are coming out of the Leave Me Alone overnight stakes here four weeks earlier, including Another Romance and Citizen Advocate, who finished first and second.

Another Romance is the stablemate of Musical Romance, who will be heavily favored to win the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap later in the day. Another Romance has improved leaps and bounds for trainer Bill Kaplan over the past several months, capturing three of her last four starts. In the Leave Me Alone, she rallied from near the rear of the pack to wear down Citizen Advocate in the shadow of the wire.

“I loved this filly from the beginning. That’s why we named her Another Romance, after Musical Romance,” said Kaplan. “And she’s actually ahead of Musical Romance in earnings at this point of her career.”

Citizen’s Advocate suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the Leave Me Along after appearing to be home free with a five-length advantage at the eighth pole. Trained by David Vivian Jr., Citizen Advocate has made four starts this year, all in stakes, and has finished second or third in each.

Trainer Stanley Gold will send out his familiar pair of Redbud Road and Awesome Belle in the six-furlong Azalea. Redbud Road finished seventh in the Leave Me Alone after having won the French Village in her 3-year-old debut four weeks earlier. She was a two-time stakes winner at 2.

Awesome Belle has not won in seven tries at 3 after dominating the My Dear Girl Stakes and competing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to close out her 2-year-old campaign.

“Awesome Belle was supposed to force the pace in the Leave Me Alone, which she did, and I thought she ran well,” said Gold. “Redbud Road wound up right behind them and I would say we used her up too soon. This is a very wide-open race and I think we’ve got a good shot.”

Citizen Advocate may have to deal with the early speed of Exclusively Maria, who has not started since going wire to wire to capture the Cassidy Stakes here last fall.

Defy Gravity is the lone ship-in for the Azalea, having finished third in overnight stakes at Monmouth Park and Delaware Park in her last two tries.

Say a Novena recently returned to her home base at Calder after finishing fourth in stakes at Pimlico and Maryland in her previous two starts.

Champali one-two top Umphrey

Uno Caliente and Determinato, first and second in the Champali Stakes decided over a yielding course on May 12, top a well-matched lineup entered to go five furlongs in the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint. The race also lured Artefacto, who is cross-entered in the Grade 2 Smile; Silver Cloud; and the once-beaten Tale of a Champion.

◗ Trainer Marty Wolfson, who entered six fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap, came back with four more for the afternoon’s finale, the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat for fillies and mares on the turf. The Wolfson quartet comprises the Grade 3-placed Speak Easy Gal, Timezone, Canadian Mistress, and Beloveda, who is also entered in the Rooney.

Other key players in the Hollywood Wildcat are Prize Informant, Trip for A.J., and Callmethesqueeze.