10/13/2011 3:11PM

Calder: Mambo Meister can even score in Spend A Buck


MIAMI − Trainer Phil Gleaves has had a year to think about Mad Flatter’s one-sided win over his odds-on Mambo Meister in the 2010 Spend A Buck. That day, Mad Flatter cruised to an easy lead and scored by 6 1/4 lengths in a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

There will be no free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup on the line when Mambo Meister and Mad Flatter meet again Saturday at Calder in the Grade 3 Spend A Buck, but Gleaves is grateful to have the opportunity to reverse last year’s setback.

“I’m looking forward to the rematch and for a chance to avenge that defeat,” Gleaves said. “Mad Flatter just got away from us last year. We thought there was a lot of speed in the race, and as so often happens when that’s the case, everybody takes back and leaves one horse loose on the lead. We’ll make sure that doesn’t happen again this time.”

A multiple Grade 3 winner, Mambo Meister is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Grade 1 Woodward. In his previous start, Mambo Meister ran arguably the best race of his career, earning a 110 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Primal overnight stakes.

“He got very unsettled and lathered up in the post parade and behind the gate before the Woodward, and that’s not like him, so we’ll put a line through that race and move on,” Gleaves said. “He’s trained like a monster since he got back home from New York. Hopefully, somebody will run with Mad Flatter, but if no other speed materializes, if nobody presses him early, we will.”

Mad Flatter finished 12th in the 2010 Dirt Mile and has one win since the Spend A Buck, a mid-level optional claiming and allowance race at Churchill. He has not started since finishing third under allowance conditions at Presque Isle Downs on July 28.

Rock Alex has won three in a row and four of his last five. He could press Mad Flatter during the early stages of the Spend A Buck.

Flatter This won the Band Is Passing Stakes and Darn That Alarm Handicap in his last two starts but exits a disappointing fourth-place finish in an allowance race switched from turf to dirt Sept. 30.

Sky Venture comes off the best race of his career, a 6 1/4-length optional claiming and allowance win for which he received a 93 Beyer Speed Figure on Sept. 16.

Tropical Park Derby: Manicero stays

Trainer Leo Azpurua Jr. was leaning toward running Manicero in Sunday’s Grade 3 Remington Park Derby but opted for some home cooking in Saturday’s $75,000 Tropical Park Derby on the turf. for his seven time stakes winner.

Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Tropical Park Derby will be a rematch for the top three finishers from last month’s Needles, which Manicero won by a half-length over Star of Sarava, with pace-setter Oligarch checking in a tiring third.

The outing was the first on grass for Manicero, who won his seventh career stakes. He also captured the one-mile Naked Greed by five lengths in his two-turn debut four weeks earlier.

“Basically, this is the same group of horses we beat last time, and I think he’ll only improve off his first start on grass,” Azpurua said. “He’s shown lots of versatility and character so far, and you won’t find too many horses who have won seven stakes within the span of less than a year. This race is the same distance and should also serve as a good prep for our next goal which is to run him against older horses next month on Florida Million Day.”

Star of Sarava rallied from near the rear of the pack halfway through the Needles but could not quite get to Manicero. Star of Sarava was making just his second start on grass for trainer Bill White and earned a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Frances Genter: Three meet again

The top three finishers from last month’s Judys Red Shoes − Callmethesqueeze, Blue Angel Express, and Prize Informant − will square off again in the $75,000 Frances Genter on the grass. They’ll be joined by Louvakhova, who makes her U.S. debut after finishing first or second in all six previous starts this season in France.