12/17/2009 12:00AM

Calder roundup



Eibar Coa

He leapfrogged Manny Cruz to reclaim the lead in the jockey standings after posting a hat trick Sunday and a riding double the following afternoon. Coa spread the wealth along the way, winning those five races for five trainers.

Manny Cruz

He regained and subsequently relinquished the top spot in the standings to Coa. Cruz began the week with consecutive three-baggers Thursday and Friday, got blanked the next two days, then ended on a high note with a double Monday to vault past apprentice Luis Saez and end the week in second place.

Steve Dwoskin

Although out of town - and the country, for that matter - on business during the week, his barn won five races, including a pair Sunday, while under the watchful eye of assistant Paul Newman. The hot streak put Dwoskin back in the lead in the race for the leading owner title, an honor he won at the 2009 Calder session.

David Fawkes

Although his top 3-year-olds, Big Drama and Duke of Mischief, were recently sidelined, the reserves did a nice job filling the void last week, winning four races, including two Saturday. The sweetest victory was turned in by Possetothemax, who proved he was more than just a five-furlong turf specialist, rallying from off the pace to win a $16,000 starter allowance going 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track Saturday. All four of Possetothemax's previous wins this season had come at five furlongs, including the grassy Reappeal Stakes.


There were several performances to choose from, including an eye-catching coming-out party and a couple of big efforts off the bench for a pair of potential future stakes winners.

Wildcat Frankie

This 2-year-old son of red-hot stallion Wildcat Heir caught everybody's attention when he romped to a 15-length victory in his career debut for trainer Jim Hatchett and owner Frank Bertolino's Monarch Stables Inc. on Saturday. Despite a lack of competition through the final quarter-mile, the young prospect covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.90, one of the fastest clockings turned in by a 2-year-old maiden here in recent memory. The effort earned him a 95 Beyer Speed Figure, putting him one point off the top-10 list for any 2-year-old in the country in 2009. Hatchett and Bertolino's phone lines have undoubtedly been burning up with offers from around the country, considering the success privately purchased 2-year-olds coming out of Calder have had this season.

Fly By Phil

Although the final number was not as grandiose as Frankie's, take it from me - this homebred youngster will be heard from at 3. After spending several months on the sideline with a minor foot injury, he returned Dec. 11 and dominated a decent entry-level allowance field around two turns by 2 1/2 lengths. He probably could have won by an even wider margin had he not looked around and raced greenly down the stretch. This was the second impressive win for the gelding,, who figures to be stakes-bound next time.


Three-year-old son of Repent came off the bench following an eight-month hiatus and was fit and talented enough to win an entry-level allowance race going a mile Monday for trainer Manny Azpurua. Earlier at 3, he knocked heads with Grade 1 winners Quality Road and Take the Points and finished third behind Dunkirk before going to the sidelines at the end of the Gulfstream Park meet. The Florida-bred finished far back following early trouble in the 2009 Florida Derby but is destined to test the stakes waters again at 4, perhaps in late-January in the Sunshine Millions Classic at Santa Anita.


The main track favored speed for three consecutive afternoons, from Dec. 10-12, with inside paths also seemingly offering an advantage.

Lucas Brady and Jabbok deserve a few extra points for their victories Dec. 10. Both horses raced wide into the stretch to run down bias-aided leaders.

Speed fared even better on Dec. 11 and 12. Flatter This was hung wide throughout chasing stablemate Fly by Phil on Dec. 11 and is better than his race would indicate. So, too, was U S S Inchon, who was hung wide throughout chasing well-backed, wire-to-wire winner Full N Sassy in the opener on that same card.

Speed dominated Dec. 12, a trend aided by a brisk headwind through the stretch. Among those who could not overcome the bias were Broke by Noon, who broke poorly, got hung wide, and was not abused late as the odds-on favorite in the second race; Not for Gold, another beaten favorite who lost considerable ground throughout in the 5th; and Spanish Life, who finished strongly after taking up and angling very wide nearing the quarter pole in the finale.

The wind died down Dec. 13, and overnight rains also helped abate the speed bias. Only one horse, Sharper Lisa, who dominated a bottom-level conditioned claimer by half a pole, made it to the winner's circle after leading at every call.


Despite having three graded stakes on the docket the following week, the big date here is Monday, Dec. 21, when all restrictions on the three quarantined barns will finally be lifted. That, hopefully, will clear the way for horses from Gulfstream Park and the Palm Meadows training center to begin shipping in to run again. It would provide a big lift for the eight programs that remain in the 2009-10 Tropical meet.

Nominations were released for the three graded stakes to be run Dec. 26 - the Grade 2 W.L. McKnight and the Grade 3 Stage Door Betty and Kenny Noe Jr. handicaps. The card will be highlighted by Breeders' Cup Turf runner-up Presious Passion's quest for a third straight victory in the McKnight. Other prominent nominees include Jessica Is Back and Sweet Repent in the Stage Door Betty and Biker Boy and This Ones for Phil in the seven-furlong Kenny Noe.


There is very little to offer from a workout standpoint on Saturday's program with the only maiden special weight races both carded around two turns on the turf.

La Chica Sensual (11th race): Came within a head of sweeping the filly division of the 2008 Florida Stallion Series at 2 and makes her first start since winning the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl by 4 1/2 lengths that October. La Chica Sensual returns at 5 1/2 furlongs under money allowance conditions and has trained well enough to win off the bench. A 3-year-old, she has posted a string of solid works for more than a month, highlighted by her gate work Nov. 28, when she completed her final furlong without pressure in 12.70 seconds around the clubhouse turn. On Dec. 12, she went three-eighths in 36 seconds into a strong headwind before galloping out a half mile in 50.01.

Some other recent workouts of note:

* Hypocrite went five furlongs in 1:00.20 to the seven-eighths pole Tuesday in preparation for the Kenny Noe.

* Scorion, an inconsistent mid-level claimer, breezed three eighths in 35.79 and galloped out a half in 48.14 on Dec. 11.


Milwaukee Wolf

Trainer: Charles Fontana

Last race: Dec. 10, 1st

Finish: 3rd by 7 1/4

This improving 2-year-old made a couple of runs behind a wire-to-wire winner, checking back from inside that rival after having a clear run along the inside down the backstretch before angling four wide for a second try into the stretch over a somewhat speed- and inside-biased track. A clean trip should have him hanging the diploma next time.

Baron Von Cloud

Trainer: Mike McDonald

Last race: Dec. 11, 4th

Finish: 3rd by 1 3/4

Northern invader showed some real improvement in his local debut, despite an unlucky trip. Took up nearing the quarter pole while seemingly full of run and lugged in badly at the top of the stretch but still managed to continue on with interest over a speed-biased strip. Eligible to improve with one over the track.

Fly By Phil

Trainer: Kathleen O'Connell

Last race: Dec. 11, 5th

Finish: 1st by 2 3/4 lengths

Among the more promising 2-year-olds to come out of here this summer/fall, and there have been plenty of them thus far. Homebred returned from a three-month layoff to win his entry-level allowance condition despite racing wide against a bias and somewhat greenly down the stretch. The Beyer Speed Figure (76) does not tell the complete story. Has the looks of a stakes-caliber 3-year-old in 2010.