07/07/2011 3:35PM

Calder: Derwin's Star looks for Grade 1 win in Princess Rooney


MIAMI – Trainer Steve Klesaris claimed Derwin’s Star for $10,000 during the fall of 2009. On Saturday, Klesaris’s bargain buy will stand an excellent chance of becoming a Grade 1 winner as one of the leading candidates in the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap, the finale on Calder’s rich Summit of Speed program.

SUMMIT OF SPEED: Video previews and Calder past performances »

The Princess Rooney is one of four graded sprint stakes to be decided on the card and also the final leg of an all graded stakes pick four that begins with the Grade 3 Azalea, Grade 2 Carry Back, and Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap.

Klesaris claimed Derwin’s Star for himself and the Puglisi Stable out of her last start as a 2-year-old and she has shown steady improvement ever since. As a 3-year-old, Derwin’s Star posted an easy victory in the Charles Town Oaks and also finished third, beaten just 1 1/2 lengths by Blind Luck, in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks in her only try around two turns.

“We gave her some time off after winning at Charles Town to take a chip out of her ankle,” said Klesaris. “She’s always shown us a lot of talent. Even back as a 2-year-old she was running numbers on the sheets comparable to stakes horses.”

Derwin’s Star returned from a near nine-month layoff to post an easy win in an optional claimer at Parx Racing on June 7.

“She won her last race easily, it was a perfect prep,” said Klesaris. “She’s very tractable, which should be a big advantage in this race. And we won’t mind if the track come up wet. She ran over a sloppy track when finishing third against Blind Luck.”

Sassy Image and Champagne d’Oro are already Grade 1 winners. Sassy Image upset Hilda’s Passion to capture the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Champagne d’Oro dominated the Test last summer at Saratoga.

Sassy Image, who followed her win in the Humana Distaff with a game neck decision turning back to six furlongs for the Grade 3 Winning Colors, will tote high weight of 124 pounds in the Princess Rooney, conceding three pounds to Champagne d’Oro and six to Derwin’s Star.

Sassy Image has posted five of her six wins over her home track at Churchill, the lone exception a tally over a sloppy track at 3 in Gulfstream’s Sweetest Chant.

Champagne d’Oro has not won in four tries since the Test and has been idle since finishing fourth going 1 1/16 miles in the Grade 2 El Encino at Santa Anita on Jan. 16.

Trainer Marty Wolfson sent out Jessica is Back to win the 2010 Princess Rooney and has entered four fillies and mares in hopes of defending that title on Saturday. The best of the group may be Jehan, a 1 1/2-length winner of the Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth Park in her most recent start. Bella Moneta, Indulgence, and Stephanie Got Even are Wolfson’s other horses.

The speedy Cosmo Girl, red-hot Musical Romance, and Don’ttalktome round out the lineup.