06/23/2011 2:58PM

Calder: Weather the key factor in who Saez will ride in Mecke Stakes


MIAMI – Luis Saez has dominated the standings here since the beginning of the meet and was the Superman of the local jockey colony throughout the spring. But no matter what superpowers trainers or horseplayers believe Saez may possess, there’s one thing he still cannot do – ride two horses at the same time. All of which becomes a moot point, considering Saez is named on both favorites, Motovato and Mambo Meister, for Saturday’s $55,000 Mecke Stakes at Calder.

Motovato, with Saez aboard, defeated Mambo Meister by a length when the pair met in the Memorial Day Handicap on May 30. The Mecke is scheduled at 1 1/8 miles on the turf, and the weather will go along way in deciding just who Saez will be riding in the main event Saturday.

“If the race stays on the grass, Motovato will scratch and Luis will ride Mambo Meister,” explained Saez’s agent, Gil Graell. “If the race comes off the turf and Marty decides to keep Motovato in to run, Luis will ride Motovato and Fernando Jara will pick up the mount on Mambo Meister.”

Motovato has never started on turf but has been among the leaders of the local handicap division for the past several seasons. His victory in the Memorial Day Handicap came in just his second start following a one-year hiatus. A 6-year-old son of Proud Citizen, Motovato won the Sumter Stakes in his only local start in 2010. He captured a pair of overnight stakes and the Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap here the previous year.

Mambo Meister is a versatile sort but arbuably a bit more accomplished on dirt than grass. The multiple Grade 3 winner has not visited the winner’s circle since dominating the 2010 Memorial Day Handicap by nearly eight lengths. He also was second last summer behind Eclipse Award winner Big Drama in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap. Mambo Meister’s last turf win came more than a year ago in the 2010 Miami Mile.

Among the other key candidates if the Mecke goes as scheduled on grass are Tannersville and the much improved John Johny Jak.

Tannersville defeated the recently Grade 1-placed Bim Bam to capture the Calder Derby over this course last spring and has not started since finishing third behind John Johny Jak in the Carterista on closing day at Gulfstream Park.

John Johny Jak followed his upset win in the Carterista with a popular second-level optional claiming win here June 4, his third victory in five starts over the local turf course.

The remainder of the field for the Mecke includes Dream Maestro, Ducduc, Stay Focused, Wingedlie, Black Scorpion, Dinner in Odem, Livingston Street, and Imawildandcrazyguy.

Big Drama still on owner’s farm

Trainer David Fawkes said he visited reigning Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Big Drama on owner-breeder Harold Queen’s farm in Ocala earlier this week and was pleased with what he saw.

“He looked great and is training good,” Fawkes said. “He’s galloping a mile and one half every day. He’ll probably work once at the farm before coming back to the track and that will be whenever Harold thinks he is ready.”

Fawkes said he and Queen decided to give Big Drama some time off following his Eclipse Award-winning 2010 campaign and record-setting victory in Gulfstream Park’s Mr. Prospector to open the current season in January. Fawkes said he is still hopeful that he can have Big Drama ready in time to defend his Breeders’ Cup title this fall at Churchill Downs.

◗ Post time on the last four Friday programs in July will be advanced from 12:30 until 2 p.m. management announced Thursday. The four Fridays are July 8, 15, 22, and 29.