09/05/2006 11:00PM

Less turned out to be more


MIAMI - Calder's racing secretary, Mike Anifantis, and his crew are back on regular schedule these days after getting a bit of a break this summer, with racing conducted only three days per week here from July 17 through Aug. 28. The format proved to be an unequivocal success, Anifantis said.

"The three-day-a-week schedule worked out well in many different ways," Anifantis said Wednesday. "Fields averaged 2.5 starters more per race compared to earlier in the meeting, and the quality of racing was also better, since purses were higher and we were able to fill and use more of our better races.

"In addition, ontrack handle was up on a daily basis over the corresponding programs from the previous summer."

Anifantis said the success of the abbreviated schedule will likely lead to more of the same next season, and his sentiments echoed a statement made by Calder's president, Ken Dunn, earlier this summer.

"We'll have to wait until all the numbers are in before making any final decisions regarding next year," said Anifantis. "And the schedule may not be exactly the same. We could see some four-day weeks in the mix. But it's a good bet we'll do something of a similar nature again next season."

Anifantis and his crew were busy over the Labor Day weekend filling 36 races over a three-day period, including 13 2-year-old races for Saturday's Juvenile Showcase card and another 13 on Monday.

Moubarak getting back in the game

Mohammed Moubarak, who spent many successful years as trainer and racing manager for Mahmoud Fustok's Buckram Oak Farm, is set to strike out on his own beginning with the upcoming Keeneland sales.

Moubarak ended his long association with Buckram Oak shortly after Fustok's death earlier this year. The stable has continued to operate under the name of Four Roses Stable.

"The boss's death left me feeling like I'd lost both my best friend as well as my position in life, which was my job, since I've been associated with horses and horse racing since the age of 13," said Moubarak."It's taken me a while to get over the tragedy and decide which direction to take with my life, but now I believe getting back in the horse business is the right direction to take."

Moubarak said he has several clients for whom he hopes to purchase horses at the Keeneland sales. Moubarak was responsible for purchasing many Buckram Oak stakes winners, most notably the reigning Breeders' Cup Sprint champion, Silver Train, and Grade 1 winner Silver Wagon.

Feature looks headed off turf

Ms Wonder Woman may be the slight favorite in Friday's $26,000 allowance feature for fillies and mares. The race was carded at one mile on the turf but is almost certain to be moved to the main track because of all the rain that has fallen on this area of late.

Ms Wonder Woman comes off a second-place finish under similar conditions on turf here last month and may face her stiffest competition from Miss Malakia or Indyan Lisa, with Indyan Lisa entered in the race for the main track only.