10/21/2009 11:00PM

Calder roundup

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WHO'S HOT

The Cousins Coa

Eibar Coa and his cousin Daniel won seven of the nine races on Sunday's program, including both the early and late daily doubles. Daniel began the Coa family domination by winning the early double aboard favored Laguna De Oro and longshot Sir Oso. Eibar took over from there, winning races 3 and 4 with Minstrel Lisa and Miss Leonardo and the sixth on favored Lady Phyllis before completing his five-bagger by taking the late double astride the very promising 2-year-old turf filly Lucky Lass and the 7-5 Cover UR Heart.

Daniel Coa rode regularly throughout the recently completed Calder spring-summer session, winning 35 races to finish eighth in the standings. Eibar joined the colony earlier this month and with his five wins on Sunday clearly established himself as the favorite to capture the Tropical at Calder riding championship.

Ralph Ziadie

The spring-summer meet was a slow one for the veteran horseman, who is a three-time Calder and three-time Tropical at Calder training champion and among the winningest trainers in track history. But it ended in a big way, with a winner Saturday followed by a hat trick on closing day that bodes well for the Tropical session. Ziadie won Saturday's second race with Sir Dandy Andy, and with the help of the Coas, sent out Sir Oso, Miss Leonardo, and Lady Phyllis to victories the following afternoon. All four of Ziadie's weekend winners are owned by Lucille Geranis, with Sir Oso also owned by Barbara Smollin.

Nandy's Gold

As a racehorse, Nandy's Gold won just once in 10 starts and banked only a little more than $14,000. But as a broodmare, she has produced seven winners from eight starters, including the half-sibling stakes winners Hypocrite and Sweetlalabye, both of whom won big races within a 24-hour span here last weekend.

Hypocrite, a 4-year-old by Outofthebox, is a four-time stakes winner on the comeback trail after missing most of the summer with a minor injury. He beat a strong field of allowance horses in Friday's main event. His younger sister, the 3-year-old Sweetlalabye, by Sweetsouthernsaint, captured the $400,000 My Dear Girl the next day to go along with her earlier tally in the Desert Vixen division of the Stallion series. Both horses are trained by Manny Tortora and owned in partnership by his wife, Jacqueline, daughter Toni, and son-in-law Richard Ancona.

WHO'S NOT

Marty Wolfson

Saturday's Festival of the Sun program was an uncharacteristically disappointing one for Wolfson, who went winless with six starters, five of them in stakes, including the odds-on Mr. Green in the Birdonthewire and Motovato in the Spend a Buck Handicap, second-choices Royal Card (Calder Oaks) and Thank U Philippe (In Reality) and the 3-5 Jessica Is Back. But before anybody goes throwing a fundraiser for Wolfson, it should be pointed out he did come out of the day with a pair of seconds and a third in those five stakes, just finished second in the standings at the Calder meet, and his powerful barn includes a number of graded stakes, horses including Icon Project, who rates among the top three older fillies and mares in the country.

TRACK TRENDS

The racetrack was decidedly biased for each of the last three days of the 2009 Calder meet, favoring speed horses on Friday, Oct. 16, and outside closers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Front-runners won six of the eight main-track races on Friday with the lone exceptions being Proud Wolf, who stalked a speed duel before prevailing in the final furlong, and Hypocrite. Saturday's Festival of the Sun program was greatly affected by the track bias, which got worse as the afternoon progressed. Not a single horse on the lead or near the rail won following the red-hot Spirit Seeker's wire-to-wire victory in the fifth race. All five main-track stakes were captured by horses racing off the pace and wide around the turn and through the stretch, beginning with the 25-1 Lucas Brady's improbable last-to-first triumph in the Birdonthewire. He was followed by Sweetlalabye, who rallied three wide around the second turn to capture the My Dear Girl; Jackson Bend, who raced wide throughout after stumbling leaving the gate to complete his Stallion Stakes sweep in the In Reality; Mambo Meister, who rallied four wide to dominate the Spend a Buck Handicap; and Criolla Bonita, another wide-running, runaway winner in the Cassidy Stakes.

Sunday's card offered more of the same, with not a single wire-to-wire main-track winner the entire afternoon. Each of the six dirt winners was placed at least three or four wide while rallying into the stretch.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The Tropical at Calder session began Thursday and opens quietly. There are no stakes races on the schedule until Nov. 14, which is Florida Million Day, when there will be seven stakes worth $1.2 million, each restricted to Florida-breds.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

For a sheer display of talent and heart, it didn't get any better than Jackson Bend's victory in the In Reality Stakes, which completed his sweep of the open division of the Florida Stallion series. Jackson Bend's chances of making local history appeared lost even before they began when he stumbled so badly he went down to his nose leaving the starting gate, nearly unseating jockey Jeffrey Sanchez in the process. But Jackson Bend not only picked himself up and got right back into the race, he was good enough to overcome the adversity, put away bids from both Bim Bam and Thank U Philippe, and win the race, earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

WORKOUTS

There are slim pickings from a workout standpoint on Saturday's card.

* 3rd race: Double Holme has posted a couple of bullets in preparation for his debut, the last of which on Oct. 15 was the best. I caught him in 1:02.15 from the half-mile to the seven-eighths pole, although he was under pressure to finish. None of the gate works leading up to those last two drills were anything special, and the 7 1/2 furlongs of the race is a tough distance to begin at unless he really takes to the turf.

Repeat has not run since December but a couple of his preps have been strong, including the gate move on Oct. 5 when he completed his final furlong in 12.47 seconds, which is very, very good for around these parts. The lightly raced 3-year-old's ability to handle grass is the key question here.

* 6th race: Hard to like Platinium Silver on paper, especially off a clunker last out, but his most recent gate work was promising as he showed some surprising speed and galloped out strong. Might surprise if he's able to stick his head in front early a la that second-place finish at odds of 103-1 on Sept. 17.

Some other works of note last weekend included:

* Hawaiian Cruise: Breezed a half-mile in 48.02 over a very cuppy track without pressure on Saturday, completing the last eighth-mile in a respectable 12.15 considering the track condition.

* Classie Hennessey: Showed high speed out of the gate in his most recent work, posting consecutive eighth-mile splits of 11.17 and 11.47 from the eighth pole to the seven-furlong pole.

* White Shoes: Once highly promising but injury-prone horse has made just one start since December 2007, but he looks like he could be finally coming to hand after breezing five furlongs in 1:02.22 over a deep strip Saturday. He cruised the opening half in 49.72 before being set down and completing the final eighth in a sharp 12.50 for trainer Rodolfo Garcia.

* E Street: Unraced 4-year-old by E Dubai finished very impressively in his half-mile drill on Oct. 15, covering the final quarter-mile in 23.20 without urging before galloping out five-eighths in 1:02.60 for trainer Marty Wolfson.

HORSES TO WATCH

Lavender's Spirit

Trainer: William White

Last race: Oct. 17, 12th

Finish: 2nd by 4

Loved the way this filly rallied along a deep rail to be second best behind runaway winner Criolla Bonita in the Cassidy Stakes. Criolla Bonita had an absolute dream trip in the swifter going on the outside. In her only previous start, Lavender's Spirit showed some versatility by winning after setting a contested pace.

Tillie the Tigress

Trainer: William White

Last race: Oct. 17, 7th

Finish: 4th by 14

Flashed markedly improved speed with the addition of blinkers in the My Dear Girl Stakes only to get bogged down in the deeper going near the fence and fade badly after setting a contested pace. Like her chances to improve on this performance, especially if turned back to a sprint.

Assorted Colors

Trainer: Tim Hills

Last race: Oct. 16, 10th

Finish: 3rd by 1 1/4

Looked like the best horse when debuting over the turf only to be done in by a slow start. He put in a steady run outside horses once recovering from the tardy beginning that carried him to a short lead in early stretch, but he could not sustain the effort and was picked up near the end by a pair of rivals who had tripped out nicely from off the pace.

Cynthia's Secret

Trainer: Kathleen O'Connell
Last race: Oct. 16, 1st

Finish: 5th by 10

Had little chance after stumbling at the break, lagging far back over a speed- biased strip, and then losing considerable ground turning for home while turning back to a sprint following a series of longer outings. Willing to give her one more chance at what figures to be a little better price against same company whether going short or around two turns.