06/24/2010 12:00AM

Calder roundup



This has been the spring of the apprentice at Calder. Nine bug riders had mounts on Sunday's program, and the two who have separated themselves from the pack have been Luis Saez and Angel Moreno.

Saez has been a hot item since the meet began. He sits atop the jockey standings with a comfortable lead over defending champ Manoel Cruz after riding seven more winners during the week ending June 20.

Moreno has caught fire of late and matched Saez's output last week with seven winners, including three on Friday's card and four Sunday. Moreno ended the week comfortably in third place in the jockey standings behind Saez and Cruz.

The jockey-trainer team of Juan Leyva and Bill Kaplan also had a good week. Kaplan was the only trainer on the grounds to saddle three winners during the four-day period, with Leyva aboard for each of them. Two of the winners were juvenile first-time starters: Cool Vixen on Friday and Greatest Dream on Saturday. Greatest Dream benefited from a beautifully judged ride by Leyva, who slipped her through along the rail to defeat a field that consisted of several highly touted young fillies.

Kaplan and Leyva also teamed with another 2-year-old filly, Pretty Extravagant, a very promising horse who captured her debut the previous weekend.


With Saez, Cruz, and Moreno dominating the jockey colony in the opening two months of the meet, live mounts have been few and far between for many of their colleagues who have continued to struggle. Several of the apprentices have found race-riding to be a tough gig so far. Among those looking to break out of meet-long slumps include bug boys Jorge Calderon (1 for 32), Jose Angel Garcia (2 for 74), Gilberto Santiago (0 for 31), Bernardo Monticelli (3 for 47), and Abel Peralta (0 for 24), along with veterans Wilmer Galviz (2 for 75), Pedro Monterrey Jr. ( 3 for 55), Abad Cabassa (1 for 39), Antonio Gallardo (3 for 66), Luca Panici (3 for 47), David Boraco ( 0 for 20), and Brian Theriot (2 for 41).


The week of June 17-20 was a lost week for turf racing. Only Saturday's Reappeal Stakes was kept on the grass over the four-day period. The main track was rated sloppy for most of that period, and only Saturday's 12-race card was decided over a fast strip.

Thursday, June 17: The main track began as sloppy for the first six races before being upgraded to good for the final three races. Most of the winners stayed away from the rail, and only pace-stalkers For Carole and the odds-on Celebrating Love slipped through on the fence to win. All four wire-to-wire winners were kept away from the inside for the majority of their trips.

Friday, June 18: The main track was sloppy and sealed, with no grass racing again. As was the case the previous afternoon, the majority of the afternoon's 11 winners came from outside, four of those from well off the pace. The three gate-to-wire winners were all favorites.

Saturday, June 19: Three of the four scheduled turf races were moved to the dirt, and only the five-furlong Reappeal was decided over a grass course rated good. No real bias on the main track: Four winners led at every call, three won with stalking trips, and four won from midpack or beyond.

Sunday, June 20: Another day without turf racing, and like Thursday, the racetrack was upgraded from sloppy to good midway through the program. Several off-the-pace winners were sprinkled in among the regular dose of speed and stalkers who have regularly been finding their way into the winner's circle, although only two of the day's 10 winners, Pharmtrip and Decaf Again, were more than 1 1/2 lengths off the lead when they hit the eighth pole.


It looked like those who had backed Spirited Woman to 7-5 in Sunday's second race could start tearing up their tickets after jockey Eduardo Nunez lost his right iron as the field approached the far turn of the mid-level maiden claiming race. Fortunately, Nunez didn't give up. A veteran rider who has the most wins in Calder history, Nunez recovered his wayward pedal and got himself back up in the saddle nearing the quarter pole, then steered his mount widest turning for home as Spirited Woman ran past the leaders to win going away. The victory was the first in eight career starts for Spirited Woman, a 4-year-old daughter of Drewman who is trained by Luke Poulos.


Nominations close Saturday for the four graded stakes to be run on the July 10 Summit of Speed program, including the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap and Grade 2 Smile. The Summit of Speed has surpassed the Festival of the Sun as the highlight of the Calder racing season.


The following are recent workout reports for many of the first-time starters entered in the two maiden special weight races for 2-year-olds on Saturday's program.

Fourth race

Reprized Halo: He was easily the best of a set of three Manny Azpurua trainees breaking out of the gate June 18, getting his opening quarter in 24.77 seconds under no pressure. He galloped out three-eighths in 36.99 and a half-mile in 50 and change.

Peace Buster: Easily best of a set of four from the gate Monday, although he was under pressure to get his opening three-eighths in 36.91 seconds before galloping out a half in just under 50.

Chon: Flashed nice speed from the gate June 6, when he was second in a set of five behind stablemate Little Drama, who finished second in his debut earlier this month.

Museum Tour: Went a half in company with stablemate Evils Brother. Both horses tired a bit under pressure going the half in just over 50.

Seventh race

Ayoumilove: She had only two works on her r sum by Tuesday night. Both were fast three-eighths from the gate, and the better work came Saturday, when she zipped a fast three-eighths in 35 and change to easily defeat two other overmatched rivals.

Delightful Dawn: Finished third of a set of four from the gate Saturday while under pressure to get a half in 49 and change.

Truly Classy: Shows a limited work tab but was very sharp breezing from the pole early Saturday morning.

On the Dole: Finished third of five in her latest gate work June 6 but showed a little improvement in company with a couple of mates from the pole the following weekend.

Snow Trial: Beat three others, including a pair of stablemates, from the gate June 18 and did so without need of urging, getting an easy three-eighths in 36.18. Looks promising.

Joyous Music: Like several others in here, she flashed a high turn of speed from the gate in her last work, shading 36 for three-eighths before galloping out a strong half-mile.

Sacred Class: Went an easy half-mile from the gate in just over 50 seconds earlier this month, then followed with a couple of nice pole drills, including a half in 49 with an older maiden winner earlier this week.


On Appeal

Trainer: Terry Oliver

Last race: June 18, 5th

Finish: 3rd by 2 1/4

A slow start and wide trip cost this young colt a chance to win his maiden last week. He recovered from the trouble to loom a threat in early stretch, only to hang during the crucial late stages of a five-furlong maiden claiming dash for 2-year-olds.

Maximus King

Trainer: Tim Ritvo

Last race: June 18, 11th

Finish: 2nd by 3 1/2

This 3-year-old finished full of run following a slow start in his debut at five furlongs. He galloped out like a horse who will appreciate more ground. He should be dangerous at the same level, especially if stretched out a little farther for his next try.

Hard Rock Candy

Trainer: Kathleen O'Connell

Last race: June 19, 6th

Finish: 2nd by 1

A daughter of Wildcat Heir, she came in off the farm to finish a late-striding second going 4 1/2 furlongs at first asking for top owner-trainer combo. She galloped out with interest and should improve from the experience.

Strong Star

Trainer: Bill White

Last race: June 19, 10th

Finish: 5th by 9 3/4

This lightly raced 3-year-old was better than his last might indicate. Making his first start at two turns, he was forced to steady back off the early leader and chase. He had led throughout in his debut win. A grandson of Dynaformer, he might prove even better suited to turf.