09/27/2011 1:00PM

Calder: Mambo Meister working toward Spend a Buck Handicap

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Tom Keyser
Mambo Meister will run next in the Spend a Buck at Calder on Oct. 15.

MIAMI – Mambo Meister, who finished seventh after getting hung wide throughout in the Grade 1 Woodward earlier this month, is back home and will make his next start in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap here on the Oct. 15 Festival of the Sun card.

Mambo Meister breezed an easy three furlongs in 36.88 seconds and galloped out a strong half-mile in 49.22 on Saturday in his first work since returning from Saratoga. Mambo Meister was hung very wide around the opening turn of the Woodward and was never a serious factor, finishing nearly 17 lengths behind winner Havre de Grace.

“The Woodward was very disappointing for us,” trainer Phil Gleaves said. “I thought he was sitting on a huge race coming off his last performance here at Calder, but he was unsettled in the post parade and very washed out going into the gate. Then he got hung wide on the first turn, and it really looked like he wasn’t getting hold of the track. They went the opening half in 48 and he was too far back. He can go 48 very easily, and the original plan was to keep him close to the pace, so I have to think he was just struggling with the surface. All in all, it was just a combination of things that went wrong that day.”

Mambo Meister earned himself a spot in the Woodward after turning in one of the top performances of the meet with his 11-length victory in the Primal overnight stakes here July 24. The 6-year-old Mambo Meister received a career-best 110 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort. The win was the 11th for the son of King Cugat who has banked more than $664,000 for the Quantum Racing Team.

“He breezed nicely the other morning, and our only goal at the moment is the Spend a Buck,” Gleaves said. “We’ll see what that race shows and take it from there. We could try the McKnight back on the grass at the end of the meet here or wait and see what’s available for him early at Gulfstream.”

Tropical at Calder meet begins Saturday

The long Calder session ends Friday, with the Tropical at Calder meeting beginning Saturday and running through Dec. 2. The first two stakes of the Tropical meet will be decided Saturday, the six-furlong Birdonthewire and its filly counterpart, the Cassidy. Both races are for 2-year-olds and carry a purse of $100,000.

The Cassidy came up the stronger of the two stakes, drawing a field of eight topped by the sensational maiden winner Live Every Day, the speedy Exclusively Maria, and stakes-placed Montessa G., third behind division leaders Redbud Road and Queen Drama in the Desert Vixen division of the Florida Stallion Stakes earlier this summer.

The Cassidy lured only six colts and geldings, including a pair from the barn of trainer Daniel Pita – Hello Prince and Angelofdistinction. The remainder of the field includes Mel Beach, Seattle Ex, Bob’s Place, and Scat Home.

The Calder meet will go out with a bang Friday with a solid field of allowance horses scheduled to go 1 1/16 miles on the turf in the $42,650 main event.

Flatter Third, winner of the Band is Passing Stakes and Darn That Alarm Handicap in his last two starts, tops a field that also includes Picou, who will be making his first start since finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Dixie in May of 2010.

Saez, Sano capture Calder meet titles

Jockey Luis Saez and trainer Antonio Sano will cruise to titles in their respective divisions when the Calder meet ends on Friday. Saez successfully defended the riding crown he won for the first time in 2010, while Sano will notch his first training championship since coming to the United States from South America in 2009.

Trainer Padarath Lutchman also recorded a milestone of his own, posting his first stakes victory when sending out My Pal Chrisy to upset Saturday’s Stage Door Betty Handicap. Lutchman, a native of Trinidad, has been training at Calder for the past four seasons.