04/06/2006 11:00PM

Calkins Road retired to stud at 7

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Calkins Road, the champion California-bred 3-year-old male of 2002, has been retired to stud at Ponzo Equine near Santa Ynez, Calif., and was bred to a few mares earlier this week, owner-breeder Tom Shapiro said Friday.

Calkins Road was a late addition to California's stallion roster this year. He was retired following an eighth-place finish in the Crystal Water Handicap at Santa Anita on March 19. Calkins Road, 7, won 5 of 21 starts and $520,735.

"He was 100 percent sound when he retired, but we had to face tough competition," Shapiro said. "He just didn't run to his potential to what we knew in the past. We were tired of having sleepless nights worried about him. We decided it was time to retire him."

Shapiro said that Calkins Road will stand for private treaty and was bred to three mares in the first week of April.

By Illinois Storm, who is by Storm Cat, Calkins Road won three stakes for Shapiro and his wife, Debbie. Trained by John Shirreffs, Calkins Road won two $250,000 stakes for statebreds in 2002: the Snow Chief Stakes at Hollywood Park and the California Cup Classic at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.

During that season, he finished third in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap, losing to Came Home, one of the top 3-year-olds in the nation that year.

Calkins Road struggled with minor injuries at times during his career. He later won the Joseph Grace Handicap at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa in 2004.

Shapiro admits that launching a stallion career in April, nearly two months after the breeding season has begun, is not ideal.

"It was time" to retire him, Shapiro said. "I think he would have run well later in the season, but we'll try with him at stud. We know it's not an ideal time to retire a stallion. We've had good reception. We think he has all the potential to be a good California sire."

Statebreds get another turf stakes

The creation of the $125,000 California Dreamin' Handicap at Del Mar this summer gives statebred turf runners another opportunity in late summer.

The California Dreamin' Handicap will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf on Aug. 4. A month later, the California Turf Championship will be run at Bay Meadows.

Both races are preps to the California Cup Mile, which will be run during the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting in October.

The California Dreamin' Handicap joins a Del Mar stakes schedule that already includes the $125,000 Solana Beach Handicap for statebred fillies and mares on Sept. 3.

"We've been running a female version, so we're giving equal time to the boys," said Del Mar director of racing Tom Robbins.

The creation of the California Dreamin' Handicap is the only major change for statebreds on the Del Mar calendar, which was announced earlier this week.

Robbins said he has yet to finalize conditions for the overnight stakes schedule, which will feature 12 races worth $85,000 each. Those races will be even more lucrative for statebreds, who will run for an additional $25,500 through a bonus system that rewards statebreds who earn prize money in top-class open-company races.

Nominations due for Barretts October

Nominations for the California October yearling sale, held at Barretts in Pomona on Oct. 3, are due Monday.

This is the second year that Barretts and the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association have combined their yearling sales. Last year, the California October Yearling Sale saw 207 horses sell for an average of $25,311. The sale topper was a High Demand colt purchased for $290,000.