11/17/2006 12:00AM

Doing the state proud on Million Day


Florida racetracks rarely program statebred restricted stakes nowadays. Restricted races and stakes were standard fare back in the 1940's and 50's - the early times of the industry in the state. But, the Florida breeders in the 60's came to the conclusion that the best way to achieve status as a major-league breeding hub was to do away with restricted stakes and promote competition.

The Florida Million series is one of two exceptions to the non-restricted paradigm. It is a day of races held each November at Calder Race Course and is restricted to Florida-breds. The only other Sunshine State-restricted series, Florida Cup Day, is a spring fixture at Tampa Bay Downs.

Calder's Florida Stallion Stakes series requires that its 2-year-olds be the get of a registered Florida stallion; that juvenile, however, can have been foaled anywhere. The Sunshine Millions is for Florida- and California-breds.

Calder Race Course hosted Florida Million Day this past Saturday. Five of the eight events were won by the get of stallions who stood or currently stand in Florida.

The $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Stakes for 2-year-old fillies honors the late co-founder of Ocala Stud, and this race was won by Secrets of the Heart. Bred and raced by Carl Bowling, Secrets of the Heart is by Put It Back, who is from the In Reality line. My Dear Girl, the dam of In Reality, was foaled 49 years ago at Ocala Stud. Sweet Secret, the dam of Secrets of the Heart, is by the late Florida sire Cutlass.

Dream of Angels won the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile. The colt is owned by Pam Hunter and was bred by Ocala Stud. He is by the Ocala Stud stallion Trippi, from the line of Mr. Prospector. Forty-eight years ago, Jack Price boarded his lone broodmare Joppy at Ocala Stud, and it was there that she produced the two-time champion Carry Back.

The consistent Pay Right won the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Turf. The filly, bred by Debbie Thacker, is from the first crop of the Northern Dancer-line stallion French Envoy, who stands at Stonehedge Farm.

Soldier's Dancer won the $100,000 Art Appleton Juvenile Turf. Bred by the late John Franks, the gelding is by Lost Soldier, sire of the late Eclipse champion Lost in the Fog. Soldier's Dancer was sold as a weanling at the 2004 Keeneland November sales for $4,200. Lost Soldier is by Danzig, who is by Northern Dancer, and thus from the same male line as French Envoy.

The Grade 1 stakes winner Take D' Tour won the $200,000 Elmer F. Heubeck Distaff Handicap. She is from the Bold Ruler line through the late Tour d'Or, who held court at Irish Acres Farm. A case can be made that Tour d'Or was perhaps the most successful scion of the Bold Ruler line that went through Secretariat. Alice Mueller owns Take D' Tour and Paul Mueller bred her.

There were three winners of stakes on Florida Million Day whose dams were not covered in Florida. D'artagnans'spirit, by Secret Hello, won the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint. Rehoboth, winner of the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic, is by Wagon Limit. And Revved Up, a millionaire half-brother to the Breeders' Cup Mile winner Miesque's Approval, won the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup. Revved Up, bred by Charlotte Weber's Live Oak Plantation, is by Sultry Song, a millionaire racehorse, who was also bred by Live Oak Plantation.

Casse's 'now' horse

In February 2005, Norman E. Casse sent a consignment to Calder Race Course for the first 2-year-olds in training sale of the year. Mark Casse, who markets horses as Moonshadow Farm, acted as agent for his father's consignment.

All in all it was a good sale. Good, that is, until Hip No. 143, named Howaboutrightnow, became a veterinary return. The Montbrook filly had been sold for $50,000. Casse did not dispute the vet's decision and took her home. Howaboutrightnow's dam had died, and at worst the filly would join the Casse broodmare band.

First, however, some remedial work needed to be done. This past Saturday, Howaboutrightnow became the "now" horse when she led all the way in the 1 1/4-mile Maple Leaf Stakes at Woodbine to boost her earnings to $214,525.

"Isn't she something?" said Casse, who watched the race in Ocala via satellite. "Now I've got me a real broodmare!"