11/08/2012 4:26PM

Calder: Jack Dudley Sprint perhaps most competitive race on Florida Million card

Coady Photography
Dual Exhauzt, here winning the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, may be favored in a wide-open Jack Dudley Sprint.

MIAMI – There are eight stakes races on Saturday’s Florida Million program for Florida-breds at Calder, none more competitive than the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap. The six-furlong dash brings together the fastest statebreds on the grounds in a field so evenly matched that selecting the favorite may prove as difficult a task as picking the winner.

Six of the 10 members of the starting lineup posted Beyer Speed Figures ranging from 91-93 in their last start. The leaders of that group includes the 6-year-old mare Golden Mystery, who chased home no less a rival than reigning Eclipse champion female sprinter Musical Romance when dropping a three-quarter-length decision in the Mike Sherman Memorial on Oct. 6.

Both Off the Jak and No Lift Shift matched Golden Mystery’s 93 Beyer in their last start. Off the Jak, stablemate of Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Trinniberg, has won both starts since returning from Saratoga, including a second-level allowance race in which he outgamed Bahamian Squall in a career-best performance.

No Lift Shift is one of two 3-year-olds in the Jack Dudley lineup along with Bahamian Squall. The lightly raced but improving No Lift Shift also posted a 93 Beyer, easily defeating entry-level allowance types over a wet track two weeks ago.

Bahamian Squall returned from a 4 1/2-month layoff to turn in a huge effort in defeat behind Off the Jak on Oct. 20 and will add blinkers for the rematch.

“I thought he should have won his last race,” said David Fawkes who trains the homebred Bahamian Squall for Donald Dizney. “He got pinched a little bit early, caught a lot of dirt in behind horses, got to jumping up and down some on the turn, but came running once he leveled out. He had a nice work out of the gate with blinkers on since that race and should move forward on Saturday.”

Dual Exhauzt, hero of the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap five weeks earlier, and Bull Dozer, an easy winner of his last three starts, may actually vie for favoritism despite being a point or two slower on the Beyer scale than several of their rivals in the Jack Dudley.

Dual Exhauzt benefitted from a slow pace to post a wire-to-wire 1 1/4-length decision in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, but figures to find the pace scenario a little more demanding on Saturday.

Bull Dozer has proven a bargain claim for owner Frank Calabrese and trainer Luis Ramirez, having registered three one-sided starter allowance wins and finishing second in the Ponche Handicap in his four starts since being haltered for $25,000 on May 10.

◗ The $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap, to be decided at 1 1/16 miles over the main track, also appears a wide-open race. Three of the leading contenders, Callmethesqueeze, Speak Easy Gal and Hooh Why, are all at their best either on turf or synthetic surfaces, while the multiple stakes winner Successful Song, a horse for the course with five wins in 10 local starts, has not started since Labor Day.

My Pal Chrisy, the reigning Heubeck champion, is back to defend his title but has registered just a single victory, which came against starter allowance company, in 10 starts since dominating this event by 3 1/4 lengths a year ago.

◗ Bettors may also have a difficult time sorting out the $125,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Handicap, which reunites the first three finishers from last year’s edition, Bad Debt, Picou, and Roman Tiger.

The well travelled Bad Debt is coming off a second-place finish against high-priced optional-claiming rivals over a yielding course at Belmont on Oct. 11.

Picou has not started since suffering an injury after finishing a fast-closing second following a slow start in the 2011 Heubeck, but has trained well for his return, according to Fawkes, who trains him.

Roman Tiger has failed to hit the board in four starts, all stakes, since winning the Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs in early April.

◗ Several of the Florida Million stakes, including the afternoon’s main event, the Carl G. Rose Classic with Cash Rules, appear to be one-sided affairs. Brave Dave will be odds on to win his third straight stakes and fourth start in five tries overall in the $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile. R Free Roll will also be heavily favored to defeat 10 other youngsters, including New York invader Toasting, in the $125,000 Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies.

Reporting Star, an easy and impressive winner over a yielding turf course in his only start, also looks to be a short price in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf, with his main rival perhaps stablemate Kanturk Kid.

The $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies features the Cinderella filly Verso a Verso, a former $16,000 claimer, who ran away to an easy win in the rich My Dear Girl Stakes. She makes her grass debut.