06/16/2014 2:43PM

Calder's Summit of Speed canceled for 2014

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Calder's Summit of Speed will not be run this year but might be run at Gulfstream Park next year.

MIAMI – Calder’s rich Summit of Speed, a series of sprint stakes that includes the prestigious Princess Rooney and Smile Sprint handicaps, has been canceled this season due to the pending dates agreement between Calder and Gulfstream Park. The Summit of Speed was scheduled for July 5.

The Summit of Speed has highlighted the Calder stakes schedule since its inception in 2000. The program traditionally consists of seven sprint races, four of which are graded, led by the Grade 2 Princess Rooney and the Grade 2 Smile Sprint. The Princess Rooney was downgraded this season after being a Grade 1 event since 2006. The program also included the Grade 3 Carry Back and its filly counterpart, the Grade 3 Azalea, for 3-year-olds.

The list of Breeders’ Cup and Eclipse Award winners to have participated in the Summit of Speed over the years includes Awesome Feather, Benny the Bull, Big Drama, Lost in the Fog and Musical Romance.

“The Summit of Speed has been the cornerstone of the Calder meet for over a decade,” said John Marshall, Calder’s vice president and general manager of racing. “We are optimistic that these top sprint races will return to the Thoroughbred racing scene in the future.”

Gulfstream and Calder are nearing a dates agreement that would end the head-to-head conflict that has existed between the two neighboring tracks for the past year. Under the present terms of the agreement, Gulfstream would take over the majority of the racing dates on the south Florida circuit, with Calder to conduct live racing in October and November only.

Tim Ritvo, president and general manager at Gulfstream, said he is confident that his track will be able to resurrect the Summit of Speed next year.

“If the deal between the two tracks had progressed a little faster, we would have in all likelihood been able to continue the Summit of Speed tradition at Gulfstream this summer,” Ritvo said. “But as things stand now, we just don’t have enough time to plan or market the event properly. The preview races for the Summit of Speed held at Calder earlier this month were very strong, and at the moment, we do plan to mimic those races so all the local horses who participated in them will have a place to run.”

Ritvo said his racing department is looking into the possibility of running four stakes – two for older horses with purses of $100,000 apiece and two for 3-year-olds valued at $75,000 each – on July 5.

The four races would not lose their graded status due to the one-year hiatus, Ritvo said.

“Next year, we hope to be able to revive the Summit of Speed at Gulfstream and hit the ball out of the park when we do,” Ritvo said.