09/11/2008 11:00PM

Calder purses cut; $1M in stakes trimmed


MIAMI - Things went from bad to worse for local horsemen when track officials announced Friday they were cutting overnight purses 17 percent effective Thursday as well as cutting over $1 million from the stakes schedules for the remainder of this meet and the Tropical Park meet. The lone ray of sunshine is that overnight stakes will retain their $55,000 level.

Among the stakes that have been canceled are the $100,000 Shocker T. and Hollywood Wildcat handicaps during the Calder meet. Also canceled were six $100,000 races during the Tropical meeting: the Challenge of the Americas Invitational, Kris S., Cherokee Frolic, Chaposa Springs Handicap, Pete Axthelm, and Tropical Park Oaks.

Purse reductions include slashing the Brave Raj and Foolish Pleasure stakes from $150,000 to $90,000 during this meet, and cutting the La Prevoyante and W.L. McKnight handicaps from $200,000 to $150,000 on Dec. 13 at the Tropical meet. The La Prevoyante and McKnight are both Grade 2 events.

"A number of factors require these reductions be made," said Kevin Flanery, senior vice president of Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the track. "Calder has not fully recovered from the 2 1/2 months at the beginning of the meet when its signal was not allowed to be simulcast out of state. In addition, Calder racing has not been available through advance-deposit wagering platforms since the season began due to an ongoing dispute with the Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group."

Purses were reduced by 30 percent at the beginning of the meet then restored when the dispute between Churchill and horsemen over a purse contract was resolved in July. Calder also recently reduced its live racing schedule from five to four days a week through mid-November.

Tidal Dance a maiden in name only

If a maiden, Aroma de Mujer, could win last Saturday's $150,000 Susan's Girl Stakes, why can't a maiden win Sunday's $25,000 co-feature at Calder, a first-level optional claiming race for fillies and mares going a mile and 70 yards?

The maiden in Sunday's race is Tidal Dance, although the 3-year-old Pleasant Tap filly is only a maiden for statistical purposes and racing conditions. As far as bettors are concerned, Tidal Dance was a 13-length winner of a maiden race here just 17 days earlier, only to lose the victory via a stewards' disqualification for angling in and causing a chain reaction that eliminated Miss Primetime on the clubhouse turn. As a result of that performance, she'll likely be favored despite skipping a condition on Sunday.

In fact, competing as a maiden against winners is nothing new for Tidal Dance, whose three previous starts had all come against stakes company. She finished third and fourth in the Lindsay Frolic and Brave Raj stakes to close out her 2-year-old campaign, then returned from an 11-month layoff to be third in the Regal Gal Stakes in her 3-year-old debut, on Aug. 2.

Tidal Dance is trained by Gerald Procino for owner-breeder Sidney Sacks and will be ridden by Manny Cruz.

On the other hand there is Miss Primetime, who has never crossed the finish line first but was awarded the victory after Tidal Dance was disqualified on Aug. 28, when the pair first crossed paths. Miss Primetime was making her local debut and first start in more than three months in that contest and figures to improve dramatically with a race over the track, assuming she gets a cleaner trip. Miss Primetime comes from one of the hottest barns in the country, the Marty Wolfson stable, which is sending out winners at nearly a 50 percent clip since the meet began on April 21.

Finallymadeit has mile workout

Finallymadeit, a multiple stakes winner both sprinting and around two turns, worked a mile in 1:44.40 over a fast but cuppy racetrack here Friday morning. Finallymadeit whose eight wins as a 3-year-old in 2007 came at distances ranging from five to seven furlongs, has posted each of his three victories this season around two turns, including the 1 1/16-mile Band Is Passing Stakes on Aug. 16.

Trained by Javier Negrete for the Rolbea Thoroughbred Racing LLC, Finallymadeit will likely being pointed for the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 18.