06/01/2011 12:42PM

Calder: Collazo heats up after cold winter at Gulfstream


MIAMI – Like most Calder-based trainers, Henry Collazo struggled through the winter at Gulfstream Park. But once the current meet opened in late April, things suddenly began looking up for many of the local horsemen in general and Collazo in particular.

Heading into Friday’s program, Collazo was locked in a dead heat atop the trainer standings with Nick Canani, who trains the powerful Frank Calabrese Stable. Both men have won 11 races during the opening five weeks of the session. Collazo’s 11 wins have come from just 28 starters, his 39 percent win mark almost as remarkable as the $6.40 return on investment he has posted during the same period.

Collazo, who won just 1 race in 75 chances at Gulfstream, used three words to describe his recent success: “home” and “decimal points.”
“Coming back home to Calder is a big thing for all of us here,” said Collazo. “Here we don’t have to go up against the Pletchers and Motts and all the other big time stables that come this way each winter. Not that I don’t think I can compete with those guys. I’ve beaten them on many occasions in the past when I had the right horses. What I can’t compete with is their owners. It’s all about the decimal points. I’m paying $2,500 for my horses and they’re paying $250,000. If I step up and pay $10,000 for one, they’re paying $1 million.”

Collazo won two more races over the weekend to keep pace with the streaking Canani, sending out A Little Off to win a $16,000 starter allowance on Saturday and Great Bear to graduate against bottom-level maidens the following afternoon. The Cuban-born Collazo has posted his 11 victories this spring with 11 different horses, the majority of them are of the claiming variety with the lone exception being Trust the Deputy, who captured an entry-level optional claiming race on May 21.

Collazo, who won the 2010 Calder Derby in October with Tannersville, owns one previous training title at the 2005-06 Tropical at Calder meeting.

Centeno ready to resume riding

Jockey Daniel Centeno, who broke his pelvis in a riding mishap at Tampa Bay Downs in March, will return to the saddle here Friday with plans to remain at Calder at least through the end of the summer, according to his agent Dan Mellul.

Centeno was atop the jockey standings during the 2010 Tropical session with 30 victories when he opted to leave town to be on hand for the opening of the Tampa meeting that began in mid-December. Centeno, who ultimately finished seventh, just 13 wins behind leading rider Jose Alvarez despite missing the final three weeks of the Tropical meet, won riding titles last year at both Tampa and Presque Isle Downs and was far in front again this winter at Tampa at the time of his injury.

The West Rim tops turf feature

There is only one allowance event on Friday’s 11-race program, an entry-level event for fillies and mares carded at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
Trainer Bisnath Parboo, who won the 2010-11 Tropical training crown, broke out of a slump of his own when he saddled the winners of both ends of the early daily double on Monday. He will attempt to stay hot with likely favorite The West Rim in Friday’s feature. West Rim has not started since finishing third after setting a contested pace in a mid-level conditioned claimer at Gulfstream on March 23 but is working well and lures leading rider Luis Saez for the assignment.

Among the other top contenders in the wide-open race are Many Crowns, Snow Trial, Nicey Nice, and Hot Cappucino.

* Apprentice Jose Vicina registered the first win of his riding career when he guided Chiseled Light to victory in Saturday’s finale for trainer Daniel Harvey. Vicina and Chiseled Light will waste little time reuniting once again when Chiseled Light returns on less than one week’s rest to compete against $10,000 conditioned claiming foes in Friday’s fourth race.