07/10/2008 12:00AM

Golden Spikes enjoys new role


MIAMI - After knocking heads with some of the top members of his division going 1 1/8 miles last winter, Golden Spikes may have finally found his true niche - as a sprinter. That notion will gain even more credibility if the versatile Golden Spikes can beat seven other 3-year-olds in Saturday's $250,000 Carry Back Stakes at Calder.

The Grade 2 Carry Back is one of four six-furlong graded stakes on the Summit of Speed program.

Golden Spikes turned in some big efforts around two turns early this season, including a second behind Recapturetheglory in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby and a second behind Cool Coal Man in a Gulfstream Park allowance.

But following his fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, trainer Marty Wolfson decided to cut back Golden Spikes to six furlongs and point to the Carry Back. He prepped for Saturday's race in a hard-fought head decision over Gentleman James in the Unbridled Stakes here on June 14.

Both Golden Spikes and Gentleman James earned career- best Beyer Speed Figures of 104 in the Unbridled.

"He's done extremely well since the Unbridled," said Wolfson. "There really isn't as much speed in this field as I'd expected or hoped for. I think he's better off when he can settle and rally from off the pace."

Elvis Trujillo, who was aboard Golden Spikes in the Unbridled, will have the return call.

Gentleman James fought back bravely after Golden Spikes swept past him and edged clear turning for home in the Unbridled. The question remains whether he will regress after earning a Beyer Figure 24 points higher than his previous best.

The lack of speed in the Carry Back could enhance the chances of Carson's Legacy, who was sold privately and turned over to trainer Steve Asmussen after going wire to wire to win the Birdonthewire Stakes here last October. Carson's Legacy has won just once in five subsequent starts while failing to show the same type of early foot he did as a 2-year-old, but a return to his old stomping grounds and the lack of any other pure speed in the field could make him the one to catch on Saturday.

Lantana Mob was transferred from Asmussen to trainer Michael Trombetta since his last start, a come-from-behind neck victory in the Grade 3 Hirsch Jacobs Stakes on the Preakness undercard. The win was the second in a row for the late-running Lantana Mob, who will need an honest pace to repeat his last two efforts.

Azalea: Indyanne may get tested

Indyanne, unbeaten and untested in three starts, all in Northern California, brings her imposing record east and will be odds-on to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Azalea for 3-year-old fillies.

A daughter of Indian Charlie, Indyanne has never been headed while winning her three starts by an average margin of nearly eight lengths. She figures to get challenged during the early stages of the Azalea, although trainer Greg Gilchrist doesn't seem overly concerned at the prospect.

"She's got a good post; there's no speed outside of her, which will help," said Gilchrist. "We've never had to really get after her in any of her races or test her to see how much is there. I imagine she'll get tested Saturday."

Gilchrist, who trained the sprint champion Lost in the Fog, then paid his filly the highest compliment.

"Off her first three races she's as good a horse, at this point, as any I've trained," he said. "Not just any filly. Any horse."

The Azalea not only lured the fastest 3-year-old filly in Northern California but also the fastest in Canada - Dancing Allstar. She has won her last six starts, all at Hastings in Vancouver or Stampede Park in Calgary. She, too, is rarely headed early.

A speed duel would enhance the chances of the locally based Orinoquia, who has rallied from far back to win stakes in her last two starts.

* There also are two $55,000 sprint stakes for 2-year-olds on Saturday's card - the J J'sdream for fillies and the Frank Gomez.