06/19/2012 3:25PM

Calder notes: Another stakes success off layoff

Coady Photography
Becausei'mworthit, with Jose Lopez riding, wins the Cool Air, which was switched from turf to dirt.

MIAMI – For the second weekend in a row, a horse coming off a prolonged vacation and training on the farm in Ocala, Fla., became a local stakes winner and did so in impressive fashion.

On June 9, Field Commission not only captured the Ponche Handicap but set a stakes record in the process. Last Saturday, Becausei’mworthit returned from a six-month absence to dominate the Cool Air Stakes, a race switched from the turf to the main track because of several days of heavy rain.

Becausei’mworthit is a 4-year-old filly by Indian Express. The homebred is owned by Ups and Downs Racing and trained by Monte Thomas, who said some of the time off was because of a harrowing experience Becausei’mworthit encountered this winter in Ocala.

“She was at the farm and stabled right off to the side of the hyperbaric chamber when it exploded and killed that woman and horse up here in Ocala in February,” said Thomas. “In fact she was scheduled to use the chamber later that same day. She got so rattled from the explosion, she was shooting sparks out of her eyeballs when we picked her up and brought her back to our place. It took us a while just to get her over the whole experience.”

Becausei’mworthit did spend some time with Thomas at Tampa Bay Downs, where he is stabled during the winter, working a bullet half-mile on April 19 before completing preparations for her comeback at Gunn Farm in Ocala.

“She’s a difficult horse to train because she pulls so hard, so the farm is really the best place for her,” said Thomas, who took out his first trainer’s license at Charles Town in 1970. “We’ve tried to get her to relax and rate, but that’s not going to work. I tried to rate her a couple of times in her races and she didn’t like it at all. I thought the track was a little on the heavy side Saturday and worried because with the time off she might need a race. But when she breaks clean like she did, you better be fast or she’ll be gone.”

Becausei’mworthit broke alertly from the rail and was never headed, opening a six-length lead in early stretch before registering a two-length victory. She earned an 86 Beyer Speed Figure for the performance, far and away the best of her career.

Thomas said he has nothing picked out just yet for Becausei’mworthit’s next start.

“I don’t want to overmatch her, hook into some graded stakes horse, because she tries so hard it might break her heart,” said Thomas. “But I really don’t think I’ve gotten to the bottom of her yet.”

New riders in town

A pair of young riders from Panama, Jilver Chamafi and O.J. Mayta, have joined the local jockey colony this week.

Chamafi is the more accomplished of the pair. A December graduate of the Laffit Pincay Jr. Jockey School, Chamafi had instant success winning 56 races over a 36-day span while battling former Calder-based rider Luis Arango for the top spot in the standings at the Presidente Remon Racetrack.

Chamafi, who will ride with a five-pound apprentice allowance through February, will have his local engagements handled by veteran agent Steve Adika.

“I watched him ride for 10 days in Panama and I was very impressed by what I saw,” said Adika. “This kid can be another Pincay.”

Adika said he plans to keep Chamafi at Calder into September before heading to New York for the fall and winter.

Gold works pair for Summit

Trainer Stanley Gold worked a pair of his Summit of Speed prospects, Fort Loudon and Redbud Road, a half-mile over a fast but cuppy racetrack here on Tuesday.

Fort Loudon, easy winner of the Unbridled Stakes on June 9, was the first of the pair to breeze, completing the distance in 49.37 seconds. He figures to be one of the choices in the Grade 2 Carry Back on the July 7 Summit card.

Redbud Road, a multiple stakes winner but a disappointing seventh as the second choice in the Leave Me Alone 10 days earlier, went four furlongs in 49.82 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:02.67 about 30 minutes later. She will likely make her next start in the Grade 3 Azalea on Summit day.