05/18/2010 11:00PM

DiMauro enjoying the view from top


MIAMI - Steve DiMauro knows he doesn't have the numbers to compete for leading training honors here this summer, especially considering he has his stable split again this season between Calder and Monmouth Park. But DiMauro is enjoying his current reign atop the local standings, having won five races during the open three weeks of a meet that will continue through mid-October.

"I have no chance to win the title but it's nice to get off to a good start," said DiMauro. "Things have just broken the right way for me since the Calder meet began. We had some horses coming off big races at Gulfstream Park who benefitted from the class relief coming over here. The races went that our horses fit in. And we got a little lucky, which is also a big help."

One instance of good fortune, DiMauro recalled, resulted in a 5 3/4-length score by Bond Baroness against $10,000 conditioned claiming rivals on May 2.

"I was originally going to enter her in a different race but decided to go into a smaller field instead," said DiMauro. "My race fell apart and she won easily, while the original race I'd targeted ultimately came up very tough."

DiMauro has 25 horses stabled at Calder and another 15 at Monmouth. The best of the local contingent may be Sailing Time, who has not started since finishing fifth in Gulfstream's Grade 3 Sugar Swirl on Jan. 9. Sailing Time ran off three consecutive allowance victories at Calder to close out her 3-year-old campaign.

"We gave her most of the winter off and she's back in training now," said DiMauro. "I'd guess she's about three weeks away from a race. I also have a couple of other 3-year-old fillies at Calder who have some promise, On the Blue and Trippi's Sailor."

DiMauro, who is in New Jersey and eagerly awaiting Saturday's opening of the 2010 Monmouth meeting, has a good chance to add to his lead in the local standings when sends out the odds-on Set the Trend in Friday's ninth race. Set the Trend set the pace to midstretch and finished second behind her uncoupled mate Bond Baroness on May 2, and will be dropping to an even softer claiming spot on Friday.

DiMauro won nine races during the 2009 Monmouth meet but is realistic enough to know things will be a lot tougher with the huge purse increases there this summer. Purses during the summer at Monmouth will be $1 million a day.

"It's going to be a very competitive meet and extremely difficult to win races here this year," said DiMauro. "If we can win five I'd be happy and we'd probably wind up making more money than last summer. Because of the purse structure, there are going to be full fields and four to five horses to beat instead of one or two in every race as in the past. Everybody will be running their horses for less money than they normally might and we'll have to do the same thing. One thing for certain, they'll be a lot of claiming going on down here this summer."

* Jet Propulsion, winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf earlier this year, tops a field of 12 horses entered for Saturday's $55,000 Mecke Stakes, to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Jet Propulsion is one of two horses trainer Marty Wolfson entered in the overnight stakes, along with the stakes winner Stones River.

* There will be 11 races run here Friday, one more than had been carded on the three previous Friday programs during the meet. The main event is a $29,000 second-level optional claiming race carded at five furlongs on the grass. Chihulykee and Gun Highway may vie for favoritism if the race goes as scheduled on the turf, while Starship Valor and Bidham would likely gain the upper hand should inclement weather force the feature to be moved to the main track.

* Mambo Meister topped Wednesday's work tab, going a half-mile in 49.60 in preparation for the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap on May 31.