11/15/2011 1:51PM

Calder: Turbo Compressor a Florida Million standout

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Jim Lisa
Turbo Compressor, with Luis Saez riding, wins the Carl G. Rose Classic.

MIAMI – Last Saturday was a good day for Florida-breds at Calder and bad day for chalk-players.

Saturday’s Florida Million card rewarded statebreds with $1 million in purses, although form certainly took a beating, with none of the eight stakes on the card won by favorites. In fact, the public’s choice managed to hit the board in only five of the eight races. Among the short-priced horses to go down to defeat were Refining (4-5) in the Joe O’Farrell Juvenile Fillies, Jordan’s Image (even money) in the Jack Price Juvenile, Sweet Repent (even money) in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff, Slews Answer (7-5) in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup, and Mad Flatter (7-5) in the Carl G. Rose Classic.

The two stars of Florida Million day were Turbo Compressor and the unlikeliest of heroes, Gibson, who dominated the Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap at 34-1 for trainer Gerald Bennett.

Turbo Compressor cruised to a one-sided victory in the main event, the Carl G. Rose Classic, controlling all the pace under leading rider Luis Saez before drawing off to a 10 1/2-length triumph. The win was the fourth in eight starts and the second stakes tally for Turbo Compressor, a 3-year-old son of Halo’s Image, who was transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn last spring. Turbo Compressor, the 3-1 third choice in a field of six, received a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 103 for his effort on Saturday.

“He’s shown that he’s capable of those types of performances on occasion,” said Pletcher. “Like it can be for a lot of horses, getting loose on lead through comfortable fractions is always an advantage, although I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary for him. It’s more about getting him into a rhythm and into his comfort zone.” Pletcher had experimented putting blinkers on Turbo Compressor in his previous start, a disappointing fifth-place finish in an overnight stakes at Belmont Park four weeks earlier, but removed the equipment for his local debut.

“I felt he was a little intimidated inside horses at times, so we gave it [blinkers] a try, but it didn’t seem to have much of an impact, so we took them off for this last race,” said Pletcher. “What we did discover after his race at Belmont was that he had a fairly significant sinus infection, which we got cleared up before the race at Calder.

Pletcher said the next major objective for Turbo Compressor will be the $400,000 Florida Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 28.