06/02/2010 12:00AM

Dubai's Connection goes for 5 in row


MIAMI - Mambo Meister became the No. 1 star at the meet after adding Monday's Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap to his victory on opening day in the Grade 3 Miami Mile.

However, Mambo Meister will have to share some of that glory with Dubai's Connection, a 5-year-old mare who has made her name knocking around the lower-level claiming and starter-allowance ranks here this spring.

Dubai's Connection has already won four races since the meet began April 25 and will shoot for five in a row when she goes postward as the favorite in Friday's third race, a six-furlong starter-allowance dash for horses who have run for a claiming price of $5,000 or less over the last two seasons.

Dubai's Connection began her sudden hot streak with trainer Christos Gatis, capturing a $5,000 claiming race going two turns by 4 1/2 lengths on opening day and a $6,250 claiming event by 16 lengths one week later. She was claimed out of her second victory by owner-trainer Aubrey Maragh, and wheeled right back on just another week's rest to easily capture a $10,000 starter-allowance race. She then made it four in a row by wiring $16,000 starter opposition in a race switched form the turf to the dirt on May 27.

Dubai's Connection, a daughter of E Dubai, does have a little back-class to draw on, having won a second-level allowance race here by nearly eight lengths with trainer George Mikhalides late last summer. Overall, she has captured 8 of 21 starts with earnings of just more than $93,000.

Ten-pound apprentice Shamir Maragh, who is the trainer's nephew, has only two victories and both have come aboard Dubai's Connection. He will have the assignment once again Friday, with the speedy Pink Gloss likely to provide the biggest obstacle to a fifth straight win.

Summit Preview card looking sparse

Nominations came up on the light side for the four stakes races that make up next Saturday's Summit Preview program. The four sprint stakes, all carded at six furlongs, are the local preps for the four graded stakes on the rich Summit of Speed program on July 10.

The $85,000 Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds was the most popular of the four races, luring nine, led by Bernie the Maestro and Coffee Boy, first and second in the Ride the Rails overnight stakes earlier in the meet.

The Leave Me Alone, the Unbridled's filly counterpart, lured eight nominations, topped by the multiple graded stakes-placed Joanie's Catch.

The $65,000 U Can Do It, which serves as prep for this track's only Grade 1 event, the Princess Rooney, also attracted eight nominations, half of whom come from the barn of trainer Marty Wolfson. The Wolfson quartet includes Pious Ashley, who finished fourth in the 2009 Princess Rooney, and First Passage, winner of the Grade 3 Azalea on last summer's Summit of Speed program.

Pious Ashley tuned up for a possible start in the U Can Do It when she breezed a half-mile in 49.20 seconds and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.40 here early Wednesday morning. She was followed shortly thereafter by Indy's Alexandra, who went the same distance in 49.40. Indy's Alexandra also is nominated to the U Can Do It.

The $65,000 Ponche Handicap proved the least popular of the four races, with only six older sprinters nominated to the race. The group includes Big Drama, a major player in the national 3-year-old division a year ago, who could make his much-anticipated 2010 debut.

Rusty Charlie, riding a three-race win streak for trainer Francisco Machado Jr., also is among the half-dozen potential starters for the Ponche. He tuned up for his stakes debut by working an easy half-mile in 50.60 prior to the renovation break Wednesday.

Saez tops jockey standings

Apprentice Luis Saez will bring a 36-30 lead over defending jockey champion Manoel Cruz into Friday's program, after winning a dozen races last week. Saez's hot streak included five victories on Saturday's program.

Steve DiMauro and Christos Gatis will begin the week tied atop the trainers' standings, with seven wins apiece. They are hotly pursued by five of their colleagues who sit one back with six victories. The group comprises perennial leader Bill White, Eddie Plesa Jr., Henry Collazo, Fred Warren, and Tim Ritvo.

Plesa also had a big day Saturday, posting a hat trick to key his ascent in the standings. He was one of three trainers who posted three victories during the past week, along with Joe Catanese and Manny Tortora.

* Bim Bam will return locally for the first time since he captured the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf in his 2-year-old finale on Nov. 14 when he tops a field of eight 3-year-olds slated to go a mile on the grass in Saturday's $55,000 Lord Juban overnight stakes. Bim Bam will face Bernie the Maestro and the undefeated Tannersville.