11/10/2011 4:13PM

Calder: Mad Flatter yet to be beaten over surface

Jim Lisa
Mad Flatter, with John Court riding, earns a repeat victory in the Spend A Buck at Calder.

MIAMI – Mad Flatter should spend more time at Calder. The Florida bred has had a nice career racing primarily outside his native state, but he has been perfect in his only two local starts, having won both the 2010 and 2011 editions of the Grade 3 Spend A Buck Handicap.

Mad Flatter will try to keep his Calder record unblemished when he returns for a third time to take on six rivals in Saturday’s $150,000 Carl G. Rose Classic Handicap. The 1 1/8-mile Carl G. Rose shares top billing on the Florida Million program along with its filly counterpart, the $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap.

The Florida Million, which has become one of the highlights of the local racing season, offers eight statebred stakes with purses totaling $1 million.

Mad Flatter, who is trained by Jeff Thornbury, returns to south Florida just four weeks after successfully defending his title in the Spend A Buck with a one-length victory over the odds-on Mambo Meister. He defeated that same rival by better than six widening lengths to capture the 2010 edition of the Spend A Buck a year earlier.

Mad Flatter has made 23 of his 26 career starts outside of Florida. The only other time he visited his native state came earlier this season when he finished fifth in Tampa Bay Downs’ Challenger on March 5. The fourth-place finisher that day was Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Drosselmeyer.

“I’ve always tried to point him for those Florida-bred races but something always occurred and he wasn’t able to get down there, so it’s nice we’re at least finally getting a chance to put a couple of races together,” said Thornbury. “Obviously he likes that track which is a plus, since so few do shipping in, especially the first time, although we figured he would, since his mother won her first start there by about 12 lengths. He’s worked well since his last start, but he’s going to have to be sharp on Saturday. This is a little different bunch than last time, and although he can get a mile and one eighth, it’s pressing him pretty good to do it.”

Mad Flatter will carry high weight of 120 pounds in the Carl G. Rose, conceding three pounds to Manicero and four to New York invader Turbo Compressor. The remainder of the field includes The Best Glacier (113), Too Experience (115), Mimito Boy (113), and Decaf Again (113).

Manicero has won eight of a dozen career starts, including seven stakes. Half of those victories have come at Calder, including the Naked Greed Stakes in his two-turn debut on Aug. 20. Manicero finished fourth as the even-money favorite over a yielding course trying 1 1/8 miles for the first time in the Tropical Park Derby on Oct. 15.

Turbo Compressor began his career in his native Florida before being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher following a second-place finish in Tampa’s Sophomore Stakes on April 9. A 3-year-old son of Halo’s Image, he led throughout to win the nine-furlong Curlin for Pletcher this summer at Saratoga but finished a disappointing fifth when trying blinkers for the first time in an overnight stakes at Belmont four weeks ago. He will race without blinkers on Saturday.

Sweet Repent, among the top filly-and-mare handicap horses in this area for the past three seasons, will attempt to win the 1 1/16-mile Heubeck for the second time in three years. Sweet Repent, a 5-year-old daughter of Repent trained by David Braddy for the Buongiorno A Tutti Stable, rallied to an easy three-length victory over Jessica is Back in the 2009 Heubeck, the third in a series of five straight victories that culminated with the richest win of her career two months later in the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park.

Sweet Repent will tote high weight of 122 pounds in the Heubeck, conceding from three to seven pounds to a field that includes Successful Song (119), Callmethesqueeze (117), My Pal Chrisy (115), Prize Informant (115), and Belle of the Hall (117).

Successful Song, like Sweet Repent, is a horse for the course, having won 5 of 9 local starts. Successful Song posted her first win of the season just three weeks ago, rallying to a decisive four-length victory in the Bea Oxenberg Memorial for Live Oak Plantation and trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.

A full field of 12 topped by the 120 pound highweight, Tannersville, will contest the $125,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap. Among the main contenders are Tropical Derby winner Oligarch, Slews Answer from the barn of trainer Graham Motion, Livingston Street, and Picou.

Pashito the Che and Black Diamond Cat will share top weight of 118 pounds in the $125,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap to be decided at six furlongs.

A field of only six 2-year-olds will go seven furlongs in the $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile, including Rev It Up, whose jockey-trainer tandem of Juan Leyva and Bill Kaplan are fresh off Musical Romance’s victory a week ago in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Refining, who won her maiden race this summer at Saratoga for trainer Bill Mott, is among the seven 2-year-old fillies who will compete in the $125,000 Jack O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies, also at seven furlongs.

Argentine Tango, runner-up to stablemate Fort Loudon in each of the first two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes, will try grass for the first time and will face eight rivals in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf. Its filly counterpart, the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile, drew an even more wide-open field of 10 with Montessa G. likely the one to catch breaking from the rail in her grass debut.