06/07/2012 2:00PM

Calder: Summit of Speed Preview's four stakes attract big fields


If the turnout at the entry box for Saturday’s Summit of Speed Preview card at Calder is any indication, this year’s Summit on July 7 could turn out to be the most successful yet.

Full fields abound in the four Preview Stakes, topped by the dozen fillies and mares set to go six furlongs in the $75,000 U Can Do It Handicap, the final local prep for Calder’s only Grade 1 race, the Princess Rooney Handicap.

The U Can Do It will share top billing on Saturday’s card along with the $75,000 Ponche Handicap, a prep for Calder’s only Win and You’re In Breeders’ Cup event, the Grade 2 Smile Sprint. The Ponche lured a field of 11, topped by the Grade 1-placed Apriority, who finished sixth in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

The $75,000 Leave Me Alone also proved popular with 11 3-year-old fillies slated to contest the six-furlong sprint which serves as a prep for the Grade 3 Azalea. The imposing presence of Fort Loudon and the promising Bahamian Squall limited the field for the $75,000 Unbridled to only seven 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Trainer David Fawkes will have a formidable presence on Preview Day with both Apriority and his uncoupled stablemate Western Prospector major players in the Ponche, the Grade 1-placed Tamarind Hall among the top contenders in the U Can Do It, and Bahamian Squall likely to be the second choice behind Fort Loudon in the Unbridled.

Apriority is looking to rebound from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Sprint and figures to go off heavily favored in the Ponche. Apriority suffered two heart-breaking defeats last winter when narrowly beaten by Soaring Stocks in an allowance race at Gulfstream and second by a half -length to Outta Tune despite a very wide trip in Oaklawn’s Grade 3 Count Fleet Handicap.

“I think Apriority got too far back track on a speed-favoring track in his last start,” said Fawkes. “I was originally going to pass this race and wait for the Smile but he’s doing so well and nine weeks is a long time to sit between races and not run.”

Western Prospector was haltered for $62,500 by Fawkes out of an easy optional claiming win on the turf at Gulfstream on March 25 and also disappointed in his last start when finishing a late-running third after an unlucky trip as the 4-5 favorite in the Champali on turf.

Other top contenders in the Ponche include Close It Out, Bull Dozer, Determinato, Jackfrost Ofcourse, and Black Diamond Cat.

Tamarind Hall exits a much needed fourth-place finish as the 3-5 choice while making his first start for Fawkes and first since finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint six months earlier. Tamarind Hall has turned in a pair of bullet works since her local debut but must break from the rail.

“She just got tired, needed her last race,” said Fawkes. “I’d rather not be on the rail but she should have enough speed to overcome it.”

Marty Wolfson trains four of the dozen prospective starters for the U Can Do It, a quartet comprised of Indulgence, Beloveda, Latin Rocks, and Nakano.

Indulgence finished second behind Musical Romance in the 2011 U Can Do It but is winless in three starts this season.

Nakano, Beloveda, and Latin Rocks are all coming off impressive victories against weaker competition. Beloveda became graded stakes-placed last winter when finishing second behind the odds-on Awesome Maria in Gulfstream Park’s Rampart.

Trainer Bill Kaplan is holding out defending champ Musical Romance from the U Can Do It to await the Princess Rooney but will be represented in the race by the improving Wild Bout Tiffany.

Fort Loudon enters the Unbridled off an impressive two-length win over Hello Prince when turning back to six furlongs here last month for the In Summation, his first victory since finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Bahamian Squall bounced back from a troubled trip in the Sophomore Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and received high marks trouncing an overmatched field of first-level allowance horses when making his local debut on May 6.

“He’s sharp but he’s got to outrun Fort Loudon and that’s not going to be easy,” said Fawkes.