08/06/2009 11:00PM

Gesu takes a shot at Jackson Bend


MIAMI - Trainer Joe Calascibetta will have a score to settle when he sends out Gesu as one of the favorites in Saturday's $100,000 Dr. Fager Stakes. The six-furlong Dr. Fager will help kick off Calder's 2009 Florida Stallion Stakes series along with its filly counterpart, the $100,000 Desert Vixen.

Gesu will try to accomplish what his former stablemate D'funnybone could not four weeks earlier in the Frank Gomez Memorial - beat Jackson Bend. D'funnybone was defeated a half-length by Jackson Bend in the Frank Gomez, then was sold privately to owner Paul Pompa Jr.

Gesu enters the Dr. Fager off a 1 1/4-length maiden win on July 18. In his only other start, Gesu finished second behind the first-time starter Grand Times nearly seven weeks earlier.

"He had some mild shins after his first race, so I decided there was no sense rushing him back," said Calascibetta, who trains Gesu for owner James Steil. "The idea was to get one more prep into him then go into the Stallion Stakes with a good, sound horse, and thus far that plan is working."

Gesu wore blinkers for the first time in his second start, and while his Beyer Figure dipped a dozen points below the 79 he received in his debut, Calascibetta was quite pleased with the performance.

"I was a little disappointed with the time of his maiden win, but the blinkers definitely helped keep him more focused," said Calascibetta. "He possibly needed a race after a seven-week layoff, and with that race under his belt and another work I expect him to run really big on Saturday. Hopefully a decent pace will develop for him to run at. We'll know a lot more about him and how good he is after this race."

Jackson Bend will be favored to add the Dr. Fager to his victory in the Frank Gomez, for which he earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure. A homebred son of Hear No Evil, Jackson Bend will bring a two-race win streak as well as a bullet five-furlong work into the Dr. Fager for trainer Stanley Gold.

Mr. Green finished third, two lengths behind Jackson Bend, in the Frank Gomez after setting a contentious pace, and appears to be the controlling speed in the Dr. Fager. Like Gesu, Mr. Green is a son of Proud Accolade. He was purchased privately and turned over to trainer Marty Wolfson after winning his maiden at first asking under a $50,000 claiming tag on June 6.

Tutor is the only undefeated member of the field, having won at first asking against $50,000 selling rivals despite being pressed on the lead from start to finish.

Cartadito, Bim Bam, Perfect Student, Raging Tripp, and Little Mike complete the lineup.

The Desert Vixen came up far and away the weaker of the two Stallion Stakes races on Saturday. Of the eight starters, only Joanie's Catch is stakes placed, although she finished nearly a dozen lengths behind first-time starter Dashing Debby in the J J'sdream Stakes on July 11. Ocean Surge, who cruised to an easy 4 3/4-length maiden claiming win in her only start, and recent maiden winner Myakka City may vie for favoritism against a group that includes Lovely Golda, Bwana Babe, Sweetlalabye, Setting the Rate, and Lucky Deuce.