06/18/2004 11:00PM

A-listers expected in Princess Rooney


MIAMI, Fla. - When Calder racing secretary Bob Umphrey was checking his list of potential starters for the $500,000 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 10, the names read like a who's who of the filly and mare sprint division.

"It appears Bear Fan, Lady Tak, and Randaroo are definite," Umphrey said Saturday. "And both Harmony Lodge and Ebony Breeze are also under serious consideration. Right now I'd liken this race to the Breeders' Cup Distaff Sprint, except they don't have one. But I do."

The Princess Rooney is one of six stakes worth $1.75 million on the July 10 Summit of Speed program and will share top billing with the $500,000 Smile Sprint. The Princess Rooney was already a graded stakes before becoming one of the cornerstones of the Summit of Speed program. Gold Mover won each of the last two renewals, beating Xtra Heat in 2002 and Vision in Flight and Harmony Lodge in 2003.

Bear Fan is coming off victories in the Genuine Risk and Vagrancy handicaps. Wesley Ward, Bear Fan's breeder, co-owner, and trainer, said after the Vagrancy that the Princess Rooney was next on Bear Fan's agenda.

Lady Tak, winner of the Grade 1 Test at 3, captured Churchill Downs's Winning Colors Handicap on May 22, after which trainer Steve Asmussen circled the Princess Rooney on the calendar.

Randaroo was an easy winner of the Shirley Jones and Distaff Breeders' Cup handicaps earlier this year before finishing a tiring third in Churchill's Humana Distaff Handicap on Kentucky Derby day.

"I've already gotten a confirmation from Kiaran [McLaughlin] that Randaroo will be down for the Princess Rooney," said Umphrey.

The local contingent will be led by Mary Murphy, who comes in off a pair of impressive victories in overnight stakes earlier in the session.

Tendon injury puts 'Ride' on hold

Ride Her Out was an impressive winner of her 3-year-old debut Monday and was expected to make her next start in the $300,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup on the Summit of Speed card. Those plans, however, have been put on the back burner.

"She injured a tendon," said trainer Norman Pointer. "It probably happened in her stall, and she'll be out of action for about 90 days. We'll just have to start over again and hope she comes back good."

Ride Her Out's recent victory came in her first start since she finished second behind Chatter Chatter in the My Dear Girl Stakes in October. Ride Her Out also won the Brave Raj Stakes here at 2.

* Rob Murphy, the owner-breeder of Mary Murphy, will be on hand in the poker room here Tuesday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. to play "Win Rob Murphy's Money," a new promotion that gives fans an opportunity to play Texas Hold 'Em against Murphy, a former major league pitcher.