04/19/2012 11:57AM

Calder: Monument Hill eyes breakthrough in Miami Mile

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Tom Keyser
Monument Hill has never finished out of the top three - but he's never won a stakes, either.

MIAMI – Monument Hill has never run a bad race throughout his injury-plagued career. He’s also never won a stakes, a blemish on the r é sum é the consistent gelding can rectify with another typically big performance in Saturday’s Grade 3, $125,000 Miami Mile Handicap at Calder.

Monument Hill has not finished worse than third in 16 career starts, a rather remarkable achievement considering those races have been spread over nearly four years. Now 6, the well-travelled turf specialist has won five of those tries, including a pair of races earlier this winter at Gulfstream Park. A son of Royal Academy, Monument Hill is coming off arguably his best effort yet when a troubled third behind Corporate Jungle and Trend in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Appleton.

[MIAMI MILE: Download PPs for Saturday's full Calder race card]

“I almost felt bad when I put him in the Appleton because I’ve always been able to spot him so well and I was afraid I might ruin his perfect in-the-money record,” said trainer George Weaver who has had Monument Hill since the horse was 2. “As things turned out, with a clean trip he could have won it. He looked locked and loaded at the quarter pole, but kind of got bottled up down inside, and when it was time to punch he had no place to go until it was too late.”

One of Weaver’s main concerns in the Miami Mile is that Monument Hill has drawn post 12, a tough assignment going a mile on the turf at Calder with such a short run to the first turn.

“Naturally I’d have preferred to have drawn closer to the middle, but maybe a couple of horses will come out,” said Weaver. “But after his effort in the Appleton and the way he’s been training, I expect him to run his usual good race again Saturday. There are some respectable horses in the field, but for $125,000 and a Grade 3 race, I think it came up a pretty good spot for him and I’m really looking forward to running him in there.”

Monument Hill will carry 117 pounds in the Miami Mile, two less than highweight Mutual Trust. A son of Cacique trained by Bill Mott, Mutual Trust was a Group 1 winner last summer in France but has disappointed in his two U.S. appearances, having finished a troubled sixth as the favorite in the Grade 3 Ft. Lauderdale and seventh, beaten 11 lengths, in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf.

Yummy with Butter, fourth in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap earlier this winter, and Upgrade, an allowance winner at Gulfstream in his first start since being transferred to trainer Michelle Nihei’s barn, also figure prominently in the Miami Mile.

Yummy with Butter set the pace and crossed the finish line second in the Ft. Lauderdale, a neck behind Silver Medallion, before being disqualified and placed sixth in his 2012 debut. Yummy with Butter employed different tactics in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, rating well off a slow pace before rallying mildly to finish fourth in a race captured by the multiple Grade 1 winner Get Stormy.

Upgrade returned from more than six months on the sidelines and overcame both early crowding and a wide trip to win a second-level optional claiming race going a mile in her first start for Nihei. The Miami Mile will be Upgrade’s first try against stakes competition.

Miami Mile (G3), Post Time: 5:07 ET Saturday

Purse: $125,000; 1 mile (T)

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Sette E Mezzo

E. Sexton

G. Rincon

15-1

1

Chinglish

J. Cartegena

J. Rios

20-1

1

Za Approval

C. Clement

L. Saez

6-1

1

Decisive Moment

J. Arias

S. Madrid

12-1

1

Ducduc

B. Parboo

J. Alvarez

12-1

1

Perfect Footprint

D. Figueroa

O. Bocachica

20-1

1

Mutual Trust (GB)

W. Mott

F. Jara

3-1

1

Tannersville

H. Collazo

E. Nunez

15-1

1

Upgrade

M. Nihei

J. Leyva

6-1

1

Yummy With Butter

Y. Belsoeur

E. Trujillo

4-1

1

Numb Lips

A. Bezara

L. Jurado

20-1

1

Monument Hill

G. Weaver

J. Bravo

5-1

1

Imperial Czar (AE)

S. Matos

J. Rios

6-1

1

It's Never Too Late (AE)

J. Cartagena

A. Battula

4-1