08/12/2011 2:07PM

Calder: Mambo Meister re-routed to Saratoga's Woodward


MIAMI – A month ago, trainer Phil Gleaves was planning on giving his multiple graded stakes winner Mambo Meister a little break and bringing him back here at Calder on Labor Day in the Darn That Alarm Stakes. Mambo Meister is still scheduled to run on Labor Day but it will be at Saratoga in the Grade 1 Woodward.

The unlikely turn of events came about after Gleaves made a last-minute decision to enter Mambo Meister in the Primal overnight stakes here on July 24, a race that ultimately came up with just a four-horse field. Mambo Meister wound up crushing his three rivals by 11 lengths while earning a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure.

“Originally he was going to get a little breather but that race looked like a good spot to run him, we went ahead and put him in, and he ran a lifetime best,” said Gleaves. “I sat down with the owners afterwards to weigh our options ,which included waiting for the Darn That Alarm, putting him back on grass for the Sword Dancer, or trying the Woodward. Ultimately, we all decided it just seemed like the time to take the step up and try the Woodward after such a huge race like that.”

Mambo Meister’s victory in the Primal was his second straight, 11th in 37 career starts, and swelled his earnings to nearly $660,000. Now 6, the versatile Mambo Meister won a pair of Grade 3 races here last year, one each on turf and dirt. He also captured the Grade 3 Spend a Buck at Calder in 2009 as a prelude to his fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“This will be the third summer we’ve taken him up to Saratoga,” said Gleaves. “He finished second two years ago in the Fourstardave and fifth in the Bernard Baruch over the turf and last year wound up getting a rough trip in the Vanderbilt. I think he’s matured physically as he’s gotten older and just keeps improving with age.”

Gleaves said he has penciled in three more works for Mambo Meister prior to the Woodward, the first of which will come on Sunday morning at Calder.

“I’ll work him again the following Saturday and then put him on a van later that day for Saratoga, where he’ll likely breeze once more before the race,” said Gleaves.

The Woodward will mark Gleaves’s second trip to Saratoga this season. The first came last weekend when he wed the former Amy Dunham in ceremonies held in town on Saturday.

“No time now to take a honeymoon,” said Gleaves. “We’ll plan that at a future date.”