10/08/2012 2:11PM

Calder: Csaba lowers sights a bit for Spend a Buck

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Barbara D. Livingston
Csaba returns to Calder for the $100,000 Spend a Buck after finishing last in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby.

MIAMI – The last time Csaba started, he raced for $1 million in the Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing. On Saturday, Csaba returns home to compete for just a tenth of that purse money in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap, the only graded stakes on this year’s Festival of the Sun program.

Csaba, a 3-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy, finished seventh and last behind Handsome Mike after being hung wide throughout in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby. It was a trip his trainer, Phil Gleaves, had not expected.

“The plan was for him to go to the lead and hopefully slow the pace down much like the winner did that day,” Gleaves said. “Unfortunately, things just didn’t pan out for us. But he came out of the race well and had a nice breeze here Saturday morning, so he’s ready to go.”

Csaba was considered to be among the top two 3-year-old distance horses on the grounds along with Empire Builder after winning the El Kaiser overnight stakes by eight lengths July 21. That performance earned him a summer at Saratoga, where he finished second, beaten a nose, in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes and ninth after another wide trip in the grassy Equalize.

Gleaves will likely enter Csaba in two stakes Saturday, the 1 1/16-mile Spend a Buck over the main track and the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Park Derby, which is carded for 3-year-olds on the turf.

“Although I’d love to be able to keep him with 3-year-olds, our first option now is the Spend a Buck because that race is on dirt,” Gleaves said. “But I will put him in the Tropical Derby in case we get some rain and that race is switched to the main track. After his last effort over the turf at Saratoga, I’m thinking about staying away from the grass with him for now.”

Csaba was assigned 113 pounds as one of only two 3-year-olds nominated for the Spend a Buck, nine less than starting highweight Gourmet Dinner. Manny Cruz will ride.

The Spend a Buck lured just 10 nominations. The others are Cash Rules (120 pounds), Decisive Moment (116), Ducduc (116), Two is to Many (113), Christmas for Liam (112), Flatter This (112), Fair Whit (110), and Primary Witness (110).

Two is to Many is the only other 3-year-old on that list.