Updated on 07/08/2011 3:41PM

Calder: Tripski the grass specialist in feature


MIAMI – Trainer Michael Yates will be hoping the rain finally holds off long enough this weekend for the turf course to reopen for Sunday’s $31,800 allowance feature. His Tripski, who is winless on dirt but undefeated in three starts on grass,will be tough if the race stays on the turf.

Sunday’s main event is scheduled to be run at five furlongs on the grass. Heavy downpours closed the inner strip for business all last week and again when racing resumed on Friday. The uncertainty over the weather and its effect on track conditions have resulted in Tripski being one of only three members of the field to have already won on grass.

Tripski was beaten 13 lengths making his debut on dirt over a year ago but returned to post a come-from-behind nose decision when turned back to five furlongs and moved to the grass for the first time just two weeks later.

Tripski would be sidelined more than nine months after earning his diploma but returned fit and ready off the bench to win again at five furlongs on the grass launching his 2011 campaign under a $30,000 claiming tag this spring at Gulfstream Park. After breaking slowly and getting beaten better than 10 lengths trying dirt for the second time here earlier in the session, Tripski got back to what he does best and wired first-level optional claiming and allowance competition over the turf on June 17.

“Naturally we’re hoping the race stays on the grass, because up to this point it certainly looks like he’s better on turf than dirt,” said Yates. “We had him in the stakes the other day” – in the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint – “but opted to bypass when the race came off rather than trying him on dirt against that group. But I’ll probably keep him in here and run him Sunday even if the race is taken off the grass again.”

Tripski has not only been perfect on grass, he has also proven to be quite versatile having won his maiden from far back, his second race from just off the pace and his most recent start in wire to wire fashion.”

“He can come from anywhere and win on the grass,” said Yates. “Now if we can only get him to win on dirt.”

If the race stays on the turf, Tripski could have his hands full with Uno Caliente, who ran the race of his life when switched to grass for the first time earlier this spring for the Champali Stakes. Uno Caliente stalked a fast pace and held on willingly enough to finish a strong second behind the odds on Little Nick, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 89 in the process. Uno Caliente is also a stakes winner on dirt, having captured the Birdonthewire here at 2.

A Centurian was a turf winner early in his career but has posted each of his three wins this season, including an optional claiming and allowance victory here just last week, over the main track.

The connections of the red-hot Wild Apache, who is entered for main track only, old veteran and former stakes caliber Green Vegas and speedster Double Judge will also be doing their best rain dances this weekend hoping for Sunday’s main event to be taken off the grass.