10/06/2011 2:43PM

Calder: Azpurua leaning toward Oklahoma Derby for Manicero


MIAMI – To turf or not to turf? That’s the question trainer Leo Azpurua Jr. must answer over the next several days in regards to his versatile 3-year-old Manicero, who has been nominated to compete in the Tropical Park Derby on grass here at Calder next Saturday as well as the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby to be decided over the main track at Remington Park the following afternoon.

Manicero is coming off a victory in the Needles Stakes here on Sept. 17. The outing was the first on grass for Manicero, who has also won six stakes on dirt.

Manicero worked a very strong six furlongs in 1:13.20 and galloped out seven-eighths in 1:27 over the main track here Wednesday.

“His work was great, he ate up everything this morning so everything is a go for his next start,” Azpurua said on Thursday. “Right now my preference is to run him in Oklahoma because it will be one of the last chances we’ll have this year to run him against straight 3-year-olds for that kind of money. Nominations close for the race on Saturday and we’ll take a look and see who’s in there and how tough the race is coming up before making a final decision.”

Azpurua said he has a flight reserved to ship Manicero to Remington late Monday if he chooses to head in that direction.

A dozen 3-year-olds were nominated to the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Park Derby, including the Christophe Clement-trained Adirondack Summer.

Big day for Shivnanda Parbhoo and daughter

Trainer Bisnath Parboo won two stakes last Saturday, including the Grade 1 Vosburgh at Belmont Park with his Breeders’ Cup-bound Giant Ryan. But his son Shivnanda, who owns Giant Ryan, said he actually got more excited watching via television from New York as his daughter Sherry’s horse Exclusively Maria captured the $100,000 Cassidy Stakes here later that same afternoon.

“I got so excited because after we drew the one hole and she broke so slow and the jockey [Jose Alvarez] had to really use her just to make the lead I figured we had no chance,” said Shivnanda Parbhoo. “I told Jose he had to put her on the lead because it’s the only way she’ll run and after the slow start I figured she’d have nothing left for the final furlong.”

Exclusively Maria outlasted Another Romance and the favored Live Every Day by a pair of necks to gain her first stakes win. She then had to survive both a stewards’ inquiry and claim of foul for drifting through the stretch before the result became official.

“To tell you the truth I was surprised at the final result because I really thought they were going to disqualify her and place her third,” said Parbhoo. “She was getting leg weary and drifting and Jose was hitting her right-handed to get her straightened out.”

Parbhoo also said he plans to ship his Nashua runner-up Trinniberg to Churchill Downs from New York next week along with Giant Ryan but has made no decision yet as to whether he will supplement the speedy 2-year-old to the Juvenile Sprint at a cost of $100,000. Trinniberg finished second in the Grade 1 Hopeful in his previous start.

Kenny Noe Handicap canceled

Saturday’s program will be highlighted by a pair of entry-level allowance races, replacing the scheduled feature, the $75,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap. Only three horses were in the box for the Kenny Noe when entries closed on Thursday. Racing Secretary Mike Anifantis said the race would not be brought back later in the meet.