11/11/2010 4:19PM

Heubeck tops strong Florida Million undercard


MIAMI − Trying to decide which is the best race on Saturday’s Florida Million undercard at Calder is not an easy proposition. That’s because the card is filled with so many good races and exciting matchups.

The richest of the seven undercard races on Florida Million Day is the $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Handicap for fillies and mares, which pits Trip for A.J., the 3-year-old division leader, against Amazing, the top mare.

After scoring four straight wins, Trip for A.J. finished fourth in the Judy’s Red Shoes on Sept. 25 and came out of the race with a minor injury. But she rebounded four weeks later with a 5 3/4-length win in the Calder Oaks. That victory came on turf, perhaps her best surface, but Trip for A.J. did capture the Nancy’s Glitter against older rivals on dirt June 27. The Heubeck will be decided at 1 1/16 miles over the main track.

Like Trip for A.J., Amazing is at her best when she is on or near the lead. In her last start, she was outfinished by stablemate Toocleverforwords when second as the 8-5 favorite in the Cinnamon Girl Stakes. A graded-stakes-placed daughter of Greatness, Amazing has proved to be another astute claim for the Farnsworth Stables, which took her for $75,000 this summer at Saratoga.

The field for the Heubeck is dominated by 3-year-olds and also includes Joanie’s Catch, Musical Romance, and Successful Song.

Earlier in the day, Tannersville and Bim Bam renew their rivalry in the $125,000 Bonnie Heath Turf Cup. Last time out, Tannersville defeated Bim Bam by a nose in the Calder Derby. The two also met in the Lord Juban in June, when Bim Bam finished first, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Tannersville.

Tannersville and Bim Bam will also have to contend with Pickapocket, a 6-year-old who finished second behind the favored Soldier’s Dancer in the 2009 Bonnie Heath. The field also consists of the improving 3-year-old Saint Dynaformer, Imawildandcrazyguy, Mean Sax, and Livingston Street.

Some of the top sprinters on the grounds will clash 30 minutes later in the $125,000 Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap. You Luckie Mann returned from an 11-month layoff last time out and scored a 1  1/4-length allowance win in his 2010 debut Sept.  18. He returns to stakes company in a field that includes graded stakes winner How’s Your Halo, red-hot 3-year-old Tackleberry, speedball Ju Jitsu Jax, and Starship Valor.

Many of the area’s top 2-year-olds will step up next in the $125,000 Jack Price Juvenile at seven furlongs. Gourmet Dinner will probably be favored to get back on the winning track after finishing second at two turns in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality. The loss stopped his bid to sweep the open division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. He will take on the likes of Ribo Bobo, runner-up behind the highly regarded Astrology two weeks earlier in Churchill’s Grade  3 Iroquois; the speedy stakes winner Uno Caliente; improved Determinato; and promising maiden-breaker Manicero.

Two-year-olds with an affinity for grass will also get their chance Saturday. The boys will run in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf, and the girls in the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Reprized Halo and Decisive Moment, the upset winner and third-place finisher in the In Reality, will try turf for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Appleton. They will take on experienced grass runners such as Racing Aptitude, who won his maiden by 4 3/4 lengths last out, and turf winners And I Like It Too and Oligarch.

In the Franks, Holidaysatthefarm will be the one to beat after winning her last two starts, including a three-quarter-length win in a turf allowance at Keeneland last out Oct.  20. Other Northern invaders in the lineup include Keeneland maiden winner Litigating, Mirimichi Babe, and Salsa Bullet. The locals are topped by Lily’s Hope, Beso Grande, and Blue Eyed Sweetie, the second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the My Dear Girl here Oct. 16 behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Awesome Feather.

Lily’s Hope and Beso Grande are also cross-entered on the main track in the $125,000 Joe O’Farrell for 2-year-old fillies and will be among the major players if they start, along with the Bill Mott-trained Come a Callin, Wicked Speed, Many Crowns, and Cristal Jak.