06/30/2010 11:00PM

Calder roundup



Despite losing his five-pound apprentice allowance Sunday, leading rider Luis Saez continues to dominate. Saez opened a commanding lead atop the standings after posting eight more winners last week. Nobody else in the local room won more than three times; veterans Sebastian Madrid and Pedro Monterrey Jr. were among those who won three last week. Madrid and Monterrey got off to slow starts early in the session but have picked up momentum.

Pedro Maestre was the only trainer with three wins last week, capped by Consolacion Sur's win in Sunday's finale. Maestre also sent out Why I Love You to win the fourth race Thursday, June 24, and Sweet Chantal, a horse to watch mentioned here after her previous start, to an easy victory June 26.


Thursday, June 24: Speed was dominant. Five of the six sprint winners were on the lead at the eighth pole; the exception, pace dueler Huff 'N Hughes, was a head back at that point. Sayaah was the only winner on the card, turf or dirt, who was as much as 1 1/2 lengths behind nearing the stretch. She went on to open three lengths on the field by the time she had reached the furlong marker. Although rated good, the grass course yielded splits of 20.95 and 43.84 seconds to a weak field of maiden claimers going five furlongs in the third race.

Friday, June 25: Although a couple of main-track winners rallied from off the pace, only two of the first seven horses who won races on the dirt, Galabella and Venga Mi Nino, were as far back as two lengths off the leader at the quarter pole. Galabella was the only one not in front at the eighth pole. A pair of deep closers did run one-two in the finale, a horrific maiden claimer around two turns that collapsed down the stretch. The turf course was called good for the second straight day, with speed horses fading badly in the two route races but holding okay at five furlongs.

Saturday, June 26: The main track was fast, the turf good for a third straight afternoon. There were a couple of stalking winners on the dirt, in the first and last race, but front-runners swept just about everything else in between. The turf produced its first two-turn wire-to-wire winner of the week in Omar's Tiger, who led throughout as the favorite in the 10th.

Sunday, June 27: Finally, a firm grass course. The main track remained fast but perhaps was just dull enough to negate the speed bias that has prevailed for much of the meet. News Carrier was the closest thing to a gate-to-wire winner over the main track all afternoon. Stalkers and closers dominated, beginning with King Combo's last-to-first win in the opener and continuing through Temo's Dream's 33-1 shocker from off the pace in the ninth race and Consolacion Sur's maiden win from well back in the nightcap.


Some top performances to report this week, the best of which was turned in by a young filly launching her career under a $25,000 claiming tag. Fortunately, for owner Gil Campbell and trainer Kathleen O'Connell, nobody reached in for Cathy's Crunches, a homebred daughter of West Acre who sped off to a 9 1/2-length debut win while shading 59 seconds for five furlongs, a rare feat for a 2-year-old maiden around these parts, especially this early in the season. The performance earned Cathy's Crunches a 79 Beyer Speed Figure, equaling the meet's best 2-year-old number posted by Cheyann Belief last month.

The week's two maiden special weight juvenile dashes last Saturday were captured by first-time starters trained by the family Azpurua. The colt and gelding division went to Museum Tour, a son of Express Tour, who ran away from his eight rivals to register a convincing victory for trainer Leo Azpurua Jr. His final time of 1:07.03 for 5 1/2 furlongs was .73 seconds faster than the time posted by Snow Trial 90 minutes later. Snow Trial, who is trained by Azpurua's uncle Manny, rallied from just off a rapid pace to win the filly split over a fast-closing Delightful Dawn and the well-touted Truly Classy.


Nominations are out for the Summit of Speed program, to be run here Saturday, July 10. The biggest name on the lists is former Calder resident D' Funnybone, who is expected to return to his roots for the Grade 3 Carry Back. The Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap and Grade 2 Smile appear to be coming up a little weaker than they have in recent years although both races will attract several out-of-town shippers who could play a major role in their divisions later in the season. The Princess Rooney and Smile again are designated as Win and You're In races for the Breeders' Cup.


A few relevant recent workouts by horses running in Saturday's program.

Third race

Dual Exhauzt: Flashed a high turn of foot in the only two published works listed by Tuesday, including a 35.70 three-eighths from the gate in company June 17. He did tire a bit in the latter stages of his second work 10 days later, albeit over a very cuppy racetrack.

My Saint: After encountering trouble in his debut, he returned to show a nice turn of foot before tiring in the latter stages of a five-furlong pole work June 28.

Dutch Cay: Will make his debut off a series of good works, most recently a sharp half from the gate Sunday, June 27, when he showed high speed but tired some at the end. The break could be crucial. He pretty much walked out of the gate before finishing up well in his June 14 work.

Evil's Brother: Worked from the gate June 20 with stable partner Museum Tour, and they both went a half in 50.67. He was not quite as sharp when returning out of the gate last Sunday and should show up for his debut equipped with blinkers. Museum Tour dominated a similar field of maiden 2-year-olds last weekend.

Eighth race

John Johny Jak: Was the best of four out of the gate June 5, going a half in 50.09 while under little to no urging throughout.

My Pocket Ace: His last work was by far his best. He followed up an easy half from the gate June 20 with a swift four furlongs in 49.26 on June 27, when he easily outsprinted stablemate Evil's Brother.

Armed Deployment: I like that he went right back to the gate Monday, June 28, after breaking slowly in his debut June 20, when he finished fifth. While he came away better in the work, he finished last of a set of three.



Trainer: Manuel Azpurua

Last race: June 25, 5th

Finish: 2nd by 3 1/2

Unraced 2-year-old was dead on the board at 30-1 for his debut but may have been best if he hadn't been stopped cold in his tracks between horses. Before that, he had made a strong bid that carried him from seventh to within striking distance of the lead at midstretch of a five-furlong maiden claiming dash. A promising try.

Yes It's Dan

Trainer: Steve Dwoskin

Last race: June 25, 6th

Finish: 3rd by 1 3/4

Unlucky maiden had traffic issues for much of the opening three furlongs of his five-furlong turf jaunt. He was jostled shortly after the break, then stopped and shuffled in traffic at the three-furlong and quarter poles. Looks ready to graduate at this level with clear sailing.

Truly Classy

Trainer: Jason DaCosta

Last race: June 26, 7th

Finish: 3rd by 1 1/2

Well-touted 2-year-old didn't have the best of trips in her debut, getting shuffled back in the pack early and forced to rally four wide into the stretch. She made a run to close contention through midstretch and hung a bit at the end. Figures to benefit from this effort next time.

Reprized Halo

Trainer: Manuel Azpurua

Last race: June 26, 4th

Finish: 4th by 8 1/2

Son of Halo's Image had the misfortune of drawing the rail for his debut. Not surprisingly, he did not break cleanly and ducked sharply to the inside to lose valuable ground at the start. He showed some speed after the unlucky beginning before being forced to take up briefly from tight quarters along the inside into the far turn. The effort may have been better than it would appear on paper.