06/19/2012 5:00PM

Calder: Cruz heats up jockey race


MIAMI - Manny Cruz has no chance of overtaking defending champ Luis Saez to win a fifth Calder riding title considering he did not move his tack back here from Kentucky until two months into the current session. But Cruz does figure to go toe to toe with Saez during the remainder of the meet and give him all he can handle defending his crown when the Tropical at Calder meet begins in early September.

Cruz registered three consecutive riding doubles here last week, the skein interrupted only by a near-disastrous return to Churchill Downs on Saturday evening, when he was lucky to escape serious injury in the frightening spill that has sidelined his colleague John Velazquez indefinitely. But he was able to bounce back from the incident here the following afternoon with victories aboard the very promising 3-year-old Bellefire as well as Troubles Comin in Sunday’s feature event.

Overall, Cruz has won with 10 of the first 35 mounts he has accepted at the meet. Saez, buoyed by a four-bagger last Friday, remains a dozen victories in front of apprentice Joe Rodriguez entering Thursday’s card.