06/30/2011 3:11PM

Calder: Juvenile stakes take a step up


MIAMI – The Calder 2-year-old program, which has produced reigning Eclipse Award winners Awesome Feather, Big Drama, and Blind Luck, kicks into high gear on Saturday with the first two stakes races of the season, the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial and its filly counterpart, the $100,000 J J’sdream.

The Frank Gomez and J J’sdream will both be decided at 5 1/2 furlongs and serve as preps for the upcoming Florida Stallion Series, which begins on Aug. 6.

A field of eight 2-year-old colts and geldings will contest the Frank Gomez, topped by the undefeated trio of Moor of Venice, Hello Prince, and For Oby.

Moor of Venice could complete a huge day for trainer Milt Wolfson, who will also send out Frolic’s Revenge as one of the favorites in the J J’sdream and Trip for A.J. as the horse to beat in the $55,000 Liberada Stakes. A son of With Distinction owned by Wolfson’s N T S Stable, Moor of Venice won the first 2-year-old race of the meet when rallying from mid-pack to a two-length victory on May 1.

“Neither of my 2-year-olds have run in two months because they won their maidens early and they never came up with a winners’ race until now,” said Wolfson. “But they’ve both been training really good, and I expect them to run well on Saturday. Moor’s race was kind of strange, because the track was so slow that day and the time wasn’t anything to get excited about, but he ran like an older horse, coming in between horses like that.”

Hello Prince earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure of any 2-year-old thus far here this spring, an 82, for his wire-to-wire 3 1/4-length debut tally on June 11. He figures to dispute the early pace with For Oby, who chased a fast pace and edged off to a half-length victory in his only start despite being carried out to the middle of the track by the tiring leader entering the stretch.

Eight juvenile fillies have also been entered to contest the J J’sdream, a race Awesome Feather used as a stepping-stone to her undefeated season, which she completed with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Frolic’s Revenge won the first “baby” race for fillies on May 1, leading throughout before edging away to a 2 1/2-length, while completing 4 1/2 furlongs more than a full second faster than stablemate Moor of Venice.

“She looked good in her first start and worked 48 and change in company with Moor of Venice the other day with neither rider asking either one all the way,” said Wolfson. “Unfortunately she’s a Kentucky-bred and not eligible for the Stallion Series, so there’s not much here for her after this.”

Frolic’s Revenge will have to beat a pair of 2-year-old fillies from the barn of trainer Stanley Gold, who did such a superb job orchestrating Awesome Feather’s championship campaign. Gold will send out Awesome Belle and Redbud Road, both of whom graduated at second asking and have been training fast in preparation for the J J’sdream.

Glady N Glory will enter the J J’sdream a maiden but was visually impressive finishing full of run after ducking in and out and steadying sharply upon leaving the gate in her only previous start.

Trip for A J, a multiple stakes winner, will be favored to win the Liberada, returning to the turf following her third-place finish in the Emergency Nurse Stakes here four weeks earlier.

“I’ve always said she’s a little better on turf than dirt, although she could have won the last race if not getting pressed on the lead and moving a little prematurely,” said Wolfson.

The $55,000 American Dreamer will be decided at a mile on the main track with Too Experience and Megalith likely to vie for favoritism.