05/21/2007 11:00PM

Izzie's Halo punches ticket for Summit of Speed


MIAMI - With the $2 million Summit of Speed coming up in a little over a month, any stakes or higher-class allowance sprints here over the next several weeks will take on added importance for locally based runners hoping to earn a starting berth in one of the four graded stakes on the July 7 card.

Monday's $28,000 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at 6 1/2 furlongs was a case in point, with both Izzie's Halo and Frosty Secret having their eyes set on the Grade 2 Carry Back Stakes.

For Izzie's Halo, all systems are go for the Carry Back after he looped the field to register an impressive victory over Dippi Trippi and Pop Goes the Tiger. Frosty Secret, on the other hand, could not overcome trouble down the backstretch and a wide trip while beating only one of five rivals in the second-level allowance dash.

The win was the second in six starts this season for Izzie's Halo. The son of Halo's Image also finished second behind Hard Spun in the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes in his 3-year-old debut at the Fair Grounds.

Owned by Buddy New, Izzie's Halo shipped in to trainer David Fawkes's barn here earlier this month, following his sixth-place finish in the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs.

"He was hooking gorillas up north, so Buddy decided to send him down here to get his confidence back," said Fawkes who was in Maryland on Monday attending the Timonium sale. "We'll definitely nominate for the Carry Back. If something came up, we could give him another race, but with only six weeks until the Summit of Speed it's not likely."

Jockey Eibar Coa, in town to visit his family Monday and Tuesday, was aboard Izzie's Halo for the victory.

"Dave knew I would be here to see my family and asked if I would ride this horse," said Coa who is atop the jockey standings at Belmont. "I was very pleased with his race. He'll need to improve to beat the kind of horses he'll meet in the Carry Back, but the way he performed today, I think he's capable of doing just that."

Fawkes also worked his big mare Take D' Tour a half-mile in 47.40 seconds here Monday. The two-time Grade 1 winner was assigned high weight of 118 pounds for next Monday's Grade 3 Memorial Day Handicap, although she is being pointed for a defense of her title in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 16.

Stolen Prayer impresses in stakes

Like Izzie's Halo, Stolen Prayer may have earned herself a start on Summit of Speed Day - in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap - following her impressive victory in Sunday's $50,000 Kimscountrydiamond Stakes.

The Kimscountrydiamond was the first start for Stolen Prayer since she trailed throughout in Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Shirley Jones Handicap on March 17. One month earlier, the daughter of Songandaprayer rallied from near the rear of the pack to finish third in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie Handicap.

Stolen Prayer is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for the partnership of Bea Oxenberg, David Melin, and Marion Montanari. She has posted all five career victories here over her home course and has not finished worse than third in eight starts at Calder.

The $500,000 Princess Rooney will share top billing with the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap on the July 7 Summit of Speed card.

Ward building strong stable

Trainer Wesley Ward also was hoping to use the Kimscountrydiamond as a springboard to the Princess Rooney for Rgirldoesn'tbluff. But after stumbling leaving the starting gate, Rgirldoesn'tbluff was never a factor in the 6 1/2-furlong overnight stakes.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff, a two-time stakes winner here last fall, was recently transferred by owner Richard Averill to Ward's barn from her former home with trainer Kirk Ziadie. Averill has six horses with Ward, seven with Ziadie, two with Steve Margolis in Kentucky, and three others bedded down under trainer Larry Rivelli's shed at Arlington Park.

Averill, who hails from Bradenton, Fla., was the leading owner during the 2006 Calder meeting with 22 winners.

Ward was allotted 20 stalls here for his first summer stay in south Florida. Along with Rgirldoesn'tbluff, Ward's local contingent includes the graded-stakes-placed True and True and the stakes-caliber Indian Ashton. The pair worked four furlongs in company in 49 seconds here Monday morning.

Ward, who also has horses stabled in New York and California, said he is considering shipping in his top 2-year-old filly Yogi'ssplashofgold for the $100,000 J J'sdream Stakes here on July 7. Yogis'splashofgtold is coming off a second-place finish behind the undefeated Rated Fiesty in the Grade 3 Kentucky Breeders' Cup Stakes on May 3 at Churchill Downs.