04/12/2011 12:53PM

Calder: Four big event days top 2011 schedule

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MIAMI – The Summit of Speed, Juvenile Showcase, Festival of the Sun, and Florida Million event days will again highlight the Calder and Tropical at Calder stakes schedules for the 2011 season, which begins April 25 and concludes one month earlier than usual this year on Dec. 2.

The 101-day Calder session, which runs through Sept. 30, will offer 34 stakes worth $3.6 million, highlighted by the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on the July 9 Summit of Speed card. The 45-day Tropical meet, which begins Oct. 1 and continues until Dec. 2, features 21 stakes totalling nearly $2.7 million in purses. The combined program will be worth in excess of $6.2 million. Last year, Calder’s stakes program was worth about $6 million.

The Summit of Speed remains the main event of the long Calder season and along with the $350,000 Princess Rooney also offers the Grade 2, $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap, the Grade 2 Carry Back, and Grade 3 Azalea. Graduates of last year’s Summit of Speed include Eclipse Award winners Awesome Feather and Big Drama.

The Aug. 27 Juvenile Showcase is an entire program dedicated to 2-year-olds, featuring six stakes worth $550,000 topped by the middle legs of the Florida Stallion series.

The Festival of the Sun, to be held this year for the first time during the Tropical meeting, is highlighted by the finales of the Florida Stallion Stakes, the $300,000 In Reality and $300,000 My Dear Girl stakes, along with three additional stakes races topped by the Grade 3 Spend A Buck. The purses for the In Reality and My Dear Girl were trimmed from $375,000 each last year.

Eight stakes totalling $1 million in purses restricted to Florida-breds will be featured on the Nov. 12 Florida Million Day card.