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Calder: Speak Logistics, Csaba flaunt talent on Festival of the Sun card
By Mike Welsch
MIAMI – Things didn’t start out too well as far as Saturday’s Festival of the Sun program was concerned. First, early morning downpours forced both turf stakes, the Frances Genter and Tropical Park Derby, to be taken off the grass and moved to the main track. Then word was received that Gourmet Dinner, perhaps the most recognizable name on the entire card, was going to be scratched out of the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap.
But in the end the 2012 Festival of the Sun turned out to be a memorable one, with the five stakes races producing two potential Breeders’ Cup starters and so many good stories it’s hard to single any one of them out as best.
For instance there was the emergence of the lightly raced Speak Logistics as a potential candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile following his 2 3/4-length victory over Two T’s At Two B in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes. Speak Logistics earned a 90 Beyer Speed Figure.
Then there was Csaba running the race his trainer Phil Gleaves had been hoping for and expecting three weeks earlier in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby. Csaba, who finished seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby, registered a 106 Beyer after crushing eight other 3-year-olds by 14 lengths in the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Park Derby.
Or how about the 2-year-old filly Verso a Verso, claimed for $16,000 out of her only start two months earlier by owner Frank Calabrese? She picked up a $178,560 paycheck after coasting to a five-length triumph in the My Dear Girl division of the Stallion Stakes. New Jersey-based jockey Angel Serpa came down to sweep both Stallion Stakes races with Speak Logistics and Verso a Verso.
And Cash Rules and Awesome Belle extended their personal stakes win streaks to three and four, respectively. Cash Rules won the Spend a Buck and Awesome Belle took the Frances Genter.
Trainer Eddie Plesa, who had already won a pair of 2-year-old stakes earlier in the meet with Brave Dave and Itsyourluckyday, said the BC Juvenile is definitely on the radar for Speak Logistics following his big effort in the In Reality. The win was the second in three starts for the son of High Cotton who is owned by Ralph Nabavi.
“We’re definitely going to look into the Breeders’ Cup,” said Plesa. “I think 90 is a pretty significant Beyer number for a 2-year-old going around two turns at this stage of the year, the owner is a fun guy and he’s for it, and I think the horse deserves an opportunity off this race.”
Plesa said neither of his other top juveniles are under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup.
“Brave Dave’s not Breeders’ Cup-eligible and I don’t want to pay that kind of money to get him in the Juvenile Sprint,” said Plesa. “I talked to the partners in Itsmyluckyday and for them, geographically, it’s not what they wanted. He’d be 20-1 or higher in the Juvenile and they’ve been to California before with a horse and didn’t have any luck. We’ll just bypass the Breeders’ Cup and get him ready for the bigger races down here this winter.”
Gleaves, meanwhile, was on the fence Monday morning regarding a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup with Csaba. Gleaves took Mambo Meister out to California to finish fifth in the Dirt Mile following a big win in the Spend a Buck three years ago.
“At the moment I’m probably leaning against going to the Breeders’ Cup,” Gleaves said. “I’m not sure taking a 3-year-old out there to run in the Dirt Mile is a great idea. But we’ll see how the race shapes up. It’s a long way to go and an expensive proposition but certainly not out of the question. If not, we’ll stay home and run in the Carl Rose or Fred Hooper or possibly both.”
Serpa finished in a tie for fifth in the jockey standings at the recently concluded Monmouth Park meeting and will be heading back to Tampa Bay Downs for a second straight season this winter. He was Speak Logistics’s regular jockey and one of Plesa’s go-to riders this summer in New Jersey.
“I used him pretty much all summer long up there,” said Plesa. “I started the thought process the previous year with Angel. He reminds me a lot of Paco [Lopez] and Elvis [Trujillo] at this early stage in his journeyman career, and I saw a lot of improvement in him from last summer to this one. I think he’s got an excellent future, that in two or three years you’ll be hearing a lot about him.”
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