06/27/2006 11:00PM

Extreme Day adds two radical events

Jim Lisa
Keep Cool won last year's Mecke Handicap, and will shoot for a repeat on the Fourth of July.

MIAMI - As if Calder's Extreme Day wasn't extreme enough with the two-furlong Rocket Man Stakes and the two-mile Bob Umphrey Turf Marathon Handicap already on the card, track management decided to add a couple of new wrinkles that should really put the July 22 program over the edge.

One of the new concepts is called the King George Wrong Way Stakes, an about 1 3/8-mile event to be run clockwise over the turf course. The second new wrinkle and most extreme idea of all is titled the World's Fastest Daily Double and will consist of two races, one on turf and the other over the main track, to be run simultaneously.

The King George and World's Fastest Daily Double were added to the card last weekend after receiving the support from both the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association and the local jockey colony. All three races will be restricted to eight starters.

The Extreme Day program also includes the $45,000 Methuselah Stakes for 5-year-olds and up, the $45,000 Gray Pride Stakes restricted to grays and roans on the turf, and the Battle of the Sexes, pitting female riders Kristi Chapman and Rosemary Homeister Jr. against two male jockeys yet to be determined.

"Mike Cronin and Ken Dunn came up with the whole concept, including the simultaneous and wrong way races," said racing secretary Mike Anifantis. "I wasn't in on the conversations with the horsemen and jockeys, but from what I understand the discussions went well. Both groups had some concerns, but after those concerns were addressed everybody seemed satisfied and everything was a go."

The King George will be carded under starter allowance conditions for horses that have competed for a claiming tag of $16,000 or less in 2006. Anifantis said the two simultaneous races will likely be a first-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on turf and $12,500 maiden claimer going six furlongs on the main track.

"We're going to give the horses planning to run in the wrong-way race an opportunity to train and work the wrong way on the racetrack on each of the two Friday's leading up to the race," said Anifantis. "I think it's going to be a blast. Obviously, this is something that's never been done before, so it will be nice if we can pull it off. I also like the excitement it's going to bring. People are already talking about it. It's a real novelty."

Anifantis also carded a prep on Saturday for the $200,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Marathon. Named the Arthur L. Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile race drew a field of seven.

Ladies day

Sunday was a sort of ladies day at Calder with Chapman, Homeister, and Stacy Leppala all winning races on the card. Trainer Kimberly Graci also got into the act, saddling Perfect Red Nails to win the finale. Graci has won with all three horses she has started at the meet.

Homeister's victory aboard Thief in Style was her second since launching her comeback the previous weekend. Homeister won her first race in over a year and a half when she guided Baby Energy to victory the previous day.

Shesgoldincolor's victory in Sunday's eighth race gave Leppala only the second win of her career. Leppala, who resides in Ocala, Fla., rides only sparingly, primarily horses she owns with her husband, Ricky. Shesgoldincolor was only her 19th mount.

Bayou's Lassie favored on Friday

Bayou's Lassie, an impressive maiden winner at first asking on April 30, will likely be heavily favored against six other 3-year-old fillies in Friday's $26,000 main event.

Bayou's Lassie, a daughter of Outflanker trained by Stanley Gold, overcame early trouble in a 3 3/4-length debut victory, earning an 86 Beyer Speed Figure.

Lord Robyn tops Mecke nominees

Only 11 horses are nominated for the $100,000 Mecke Handicap, the feature race at Calder on the Fourth of July holiday on Tuesday. The Mecke is run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Lord Robyn, who showed a new wrinkle by rallying from off the pace following a slow start to win the Blazing Sword Stakes on June 3, tops the list of nominees, which also includes defending champ Keep Cool, recent turf stakes winner Cervelo, and Magic Mecke and Bob's Proud Moment.

Congrats, runner-up in the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap, Supervisor, and Whos Crying Now are also among the nominees for the Mecke, although each of them is much better suited to dirt than grass.

* Wednesday's work tab was light, but it did include Frolicing, an impressive stakes winner here earlier this month and a prospective starter for the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 15. Frolicing worked a half-mile in 50.60 seconds shortly before the renovation break.