07/08/2010 11:00PM

Hour Glass steps up in Princess Rooney


MIAMI - Trainer Todd Pletcher will attempt to defend his title in Calder Race Course's only Grade 1 race, the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap, when he sends Hour Glass out in a full field of fillies and mares in the main event on Saturday's Summit of Speed program.

The Princess Rooney, run at six furlongs, highlights a card that features three other graded races: the Grade 2 Smile Handicap, Grade 2 Carry Back, and Grade 3 Azalea. The 12-race program also includes three other stakes worth $100,000 apiece and will be broadcast live on HRTV with Hall of Famer Gary Stevens and Caton Bredar on site providing commentary. The Princess Rooney is a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Pletcher captured the 2009 Princess Rooney with Game Face, who demolished six rivals by nearly seven widening lengths at 9-5. Hour Glass, winner of the Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap in her last start, will face a more imposing task against a dozen rivals, including Grade 1 winner Dr. Zic.

"I was surprised at the size and competitiveness of the field, but it is a Grade 1, and there aren't any real standouts," Pletcher said. "This filly shows up and runs hard every time, and her last race was probably her strongest effort, considering the level of competition she beat. The one thing we're trying to break with her is the trend of winning one, losing one, winning one, losing one, etc. She's trained well, there is plenty of pace in there, and hopefully, she'll be able to stalk and finally put two wins together for the first time in her career."

Dr. Zic is the only Grade 1 winner in the lineup; she beat Dubai Majesty by 2 1/4 lengths to capture Keeneland's seven-furlong Madison on April 8. Dr. Zic will carry high weight of 121 pounds in the Princess Rooney, one more than Dubai Majesty and two more than Hour Glass and Warbling.

Dubai Majesty is the only horse returning from the 2009 Princess Rooney, in which she finished last, more than 15 lengths behind Game Face. She has won twice since then, including a repeat victory in the Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill in her most recent start.

Warbling dominated Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 Inside Information in March and is coming off an unlucky effort in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff.

Trainer Bob Baffert, who has won two previous Summit of Speed graded stakes, ships in Mother Ruth for the Princess Rooney off her career-best performance, a seven-length victory in Lone Star's Valid Expectations Stakes.