Updated on 09/16/2011 9:42AM

Florida Million: Many subplots


MIAMI - Florida-breds of all ages will be in the spotlight on Saturday when Tropical at Calder presents the first annual Florida Million, a series of six stakes races worth $1 million for registered Florida-breds.

Among the more interesting storylines during the course of the afternoon will be the confrontation between 7-year-old Best of the Rest and the promising, graded stakes-winning 3-year-old The Judge Sez Who in the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic; the 18th meeting between arch rivals Castlebrook and Coolbythepool in the $200,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff Handicap; and the attempt by the 5-year-old mare Stay Forever to beat males in the $150,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup Handicap.

The Carl G. Rose is the finale and main event on Florida Million day and probably the least attractive race on the card from a betting standpoint. Best of the Rest and The Judge Sez Who are standouts in a six-horse field that also includes Dancing Guy, Slippery Gator, Bog Hunter, and Island Skipper.

When healthy, Best of the Rest has dominated the local handicap division for the past several years. Now 7, Best of the Rest has won 11 stakes or handicaps during his injury-plagued career, including the Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap earlier this season. He came off a three-month layoff to finish a game second in the Spend a Buck Handicap on Oct. 12.

"He's coming into this race so good it's scary," said Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains Best of the Rest for owner-breeder Bea Oxenberg.

The Judge Sez Who, winner of the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby, will take on older horses for the first time on Saturday.

"It's a big disadvantage going up against older horses, but we've got to find out sooner or later if he can handle the jump," said Milt Wolfson who also cross-entered The Judge Sez Who in the Bonnie Heath Handicap on the chance that race might come off the turf.

In the other Florida Million stakes, Trust N Luck, winner of the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Handicap, final leg of the Florida Stallion Series, will turn back to seven furlongs in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile; Tour of the Cat will tote high weight of 120 pounds against seven rivals, including New York invader My Cousin Matt, in the $150,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap; and the $150,000 Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies should give bettors their greatest challenge, sorting out a full and wide-open field of 12 2 year-old fillies.

Post time for the 12-race program is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.

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