02/03/2012 3:02PM

Calder stakes worth $6.6M this year

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MIAMI – Calder Race Course will present 58 stakes races worth over $6.6 million in purses during its 2012 season, which begins on April 9.

The rich Summit of Speed on July  7 will again highlight the schedule, offering six stakes worth $1.3 million highlighted by the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap and Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap. The Summit also includes the Grade  3 Azalea and Carry Back stakes for 3-year-olds. The purses of both the Princess Rooney and Smile have been raised to $400,000 this summer, up $50,000 apiece from a year ago.

The 2012 meet, which opens two weeks earlier than usual this year, will get off to a fast start with the Calder Derby, Grade 3 Miami Mile, and Calder Oaks all on the schedule in April. The Calder Derby and Oaks will return in 2012 following a one-year absence on the schedule.

Other highlights include the Juvenile Showcase on Aug. 25, a card dedicated strictly to 2-year-olds that includes the middle leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes, the Festival of the Sun on Oct. 13, and the Florida Million on Nov. 10. There will also be five graded stakes during the final two weeks of the season during the Tropical at Calder meet.

The 85-day Calder meeting runs from April 9 through Aug. 31, the 65-day Tropical session from Sept. 1 to Dec. 2.