04/18/2013 1:09PM

Calder: Cool Blue Red Hot looking good in Miami Mile

Tom Keyser
Cool Blue Red Hot was sidelined a year by a hip injury.

MIAMI – Cool Blue Red Hot’s career took on a new look after trainer Angel Penna Jr. switched him to the turf for the first time earlier this winter. That look that may be good enough to earn Cool Blue Red Hot his first graded stakes victory Saturday at Calder in the Miami Mile Handicap.

The Grade 3 Miami Mile lured a field of 10 that includes a pair of main track-only entrants. The multiple Grade 1 placed Summer Front will go off the starting highweight and likely favorite under 120 pounds for trainer Christophe Clement. Cool Blue Red Hot gets in under 116 pounds, two fewer than Mucho Mas Mucho and one lighter than Monument Hill.

Cool Blue Red Hot finished second in the Grade 2 Dwyer at 3 and third in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 3 Hal’s Hope to begin his 4-year-old campaign during the winter of 2012. But Cool Blue Red Hot came out of the Hal’s Hope with a pulled muscle near his hip, an injury that kept him sidelined for one year.

“The gluteus area where he suffered the injury is such a deep area, you never know when it’s fully healed, and as a result we probably gave him more time than he needed just to play it safe,” Penna explained. “His first start back came on the dirt, but for a horse like him, who is out of conditions, it’s difficult to find races on the dirt that will fill. And when they do, you usually catch some horse either prepping for a big race or dropping out of one, and you get buried. So I decided to try him on the grass, and I think he’s proven he belongs there. He comes out of his turf races better than on the dirt, and he just seems more comfortable on grass.”

Cool Blue Red Hot rallied from mid-pack to win his turf debut at Gulfstream Park before returning to finish a wide-running fourth behind Za Approval in the Grade 3 Appleton.

“We followed the winner and had to move a little earlier and go a lot wider than we’d have liked in the Appleton, because we knew he was the one to beat,” said Penna. “This horse is one you really like to wait with until the last minute and let him make his rush. If we’d have done that, he’d likely have finished second or at worst third in the Appleton.”

Summer Front finished a troubled third under optional claiming conditions when he faced older horses for the first time this winter at Gulfstream. A son of War Front, Summer Front finished third in both Arlington Park’s Grade 1 Secretariat and Belmont’s Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap during the second half of his 3-year-old campaign.

Monument Hill finished fourth, two lengths behind Cool Blue Red Hot, returning from an 8 1/2-month layoff on Feb. 16. He bounced back and overcame a very tough trip to capture a similarly conditioned high-priced optional claiming race at a mile six weeks later.

Mucho Mas Mucho turned in one of the most shocking performances of the Gulfstream season when he rallied from near the rear of the pack to a neck decision at 41-1 in the Grade 2 Ft. Lauderdale. The Calder-based son of Macho Uno could not reproduce that effort when he stretched to 1 1/2 miles 10 weeks later, finishing a distant fifth in the Grade 2 Pan American.

Alley Oop Oop, runner-up in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes earlier this winter, Decisive Moment, Bellefire, Empire Builder, Awake At T Wire and El Commodore complete the field. Flatter This and Thank U Philippe were entered for the main track only.