07/01/2009 12:00AM

Indian Blessing to run in Princess Rooney

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Benoit & Associates
Indian Blessing is scheduled to arrive in Florida next Thursday on a flight from the West Coast.

MIAMI - Benny the Bull won't be the only Eclipse Award winner competing on the Summit of Speed program here on July 11.

Trainer Bob Baffert confirmed Tuesday that Indian Blessing will make her next start in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap, which shares top billing on the Summit of Speed card along with the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap. Benny the Bull has been pointing for a defense of his title in the Smile since his second-place finish in the Grade 2 True North Handicap on June 6. The True North was Benny the Bull's first start since his two-length victory in the 2008 Smile.

Indian Blessing will attempt to rebound from a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Desert Stormer Stakes at Hollywood on June 15. The outing was the first for the reigning female sprint champ since her second-place finish behind Big City Man in the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Baffert's decision to bring Indian Blessing to Calder became official after the daughter of Indian Charlie worked a half-mile in 46 seconds at Santa Anita under jockey Mike Smith on Tuesday. Smith will ride Indian Blessing for the first time in the Princess Rooney.

"She worked really well this morning," Baffert said several hours after Indian Blessing's work. "I wanted Mike to work her to get a feel for the filly and he said she felt terrific. She ran a flat race in her last start, but I think that race picked her head up and she looked like her old self out there today."

Baffert said Indian Blessing would breeze once more at Santa Anita before the Princess Rooney and is scheduled to arrive in Florida on a flight from the West Coast next Thursday. She will be accompanied on the trip by the 3-year-old filly Underground, an easy debut winner who will compete in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes, and either Wall Street Wonder or Zensational, one of whom could run in the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes.

As for having Indian Blessing share top billing on the Summit of Speed card with Benny the Bull, Baffert said, "That Benny the Bull stole my championship last year. You guys voted for the wrong horse when giving him the championship over the greatest sprinter of all time."

Baffert was referring to Midnight Lute, the 2007 Sprint champion, who closed out his brief 2008 campaign by successfully defending his title in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Despite the imposing presence of Indian Blessing, the Princess Rooney figures to attract a sizable field. The connections of Game Face, Dubai Majesty, and Keep the Peace have all said they planned on also shipping their fillies to south Florida for the only Grade 1 race on the Calder calendar.

The local contingent should include Marina Ballerina along with the Marty Wolfson-trained trio of Pious Ashley, Jessica Is Back, and B R's Girl.

The Smile figures to come up a smaller field, with Benny the Bull one of just 11 colts and geldings nominated to the race. Among the locals expected to run are How's Your Halo, who finished second behind Benny the Bull in the 2008 Smile, Yesbyjimminy, Ikigai, Processor's Turf, and perhaps Americanrevolution.