07/13/2004 11:00PM

Locals keep the bacon home


MIAMI - It wasn't long ago when local horsemen would complain about big days like last Saturday's Summit of Speed. They would become upset because so much of the day's purse money would inevitably leave the area in the pockets of a planeload of here-today, gone-tomorrow shippers from other sections of the country.

But such was not the case last weekend when Calder-based runners finished first and second in two of the five major stakes and grabbed numerous other minor awards among the $1.75 million in purses meted out on the fifth annual Summit of Speed card.

Weigelia was the No. 1 star among the locals, outgaming another Calder-based 3-year-old, Classy Migration, to win the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes. Caballero Negro and Sir Oscar, both of whom also reside on a permanent basis in south Florida, picked up another $21,000 of the purse with their fourth- and sixth-place finishes in the Grade 3 event.

Weigelia is a son of Safely's Mark trained by Manny Azpurua for owner Joseph J. Balsamo. The victory was the third in the last four starts for the sprint specialist, whose lone setback during that streak came at the hands of the veteran Built Up, who would finish a close third later in the day in the $500,000 Smile Sprint Handicap.

"I expected he'd run well, and I thought he could win," Azpurua said of Weigelia. "His last few races have all been very good, and I didn't even mind he lost his last start, because it was to Built Up, who is a very good older horse."

Weigelia got a perfect trip under regular rider Aurelio Toribio Jr., rating off an early speed duel before forging to a short advantage outside Classy Migration leaving the final turn. The two raced as a team down the stretch, with Weigelia maintaining a narrow advantage over his game rival to the wire. The finish mirrored the result of the Western Borders here on May 9, when Weigelia ran down Classy Migration for a three-quarter-length triumph in an overnight stakes.

Azpurua said he has no plans to stretch out Weigelia around two turns and remains uncertain where or when his star will run next.

"My owner wants me to take him north for his next race, but I'm not sure about that yet," said Azpurua. "I don't believe he's Breeders' Cup-eligible, so I'm not thinking about the Breeders' Cup Sprint."

The result of the Carry Back had to be doubly sweet for Azpurua, considering his horse easily handled former stablemate Sir Oscar, who finished a nonthreatening sixth. Azpurua trained Sir Oscar to six straight victories and a sweep of the Florida Stallion Stakes in 2003, but the horse was removed from his barn after his first setback in his 3-year-old debut, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth.

"I don't really think about things like that," said Azpurua. "What happened with Sir Oscar happens all the time in this business and is in the past as far as I'm concerned. I don't let it bother me."

Sir Oscar was saddled by trainer Richard Sacco in the Carry Back and has yet to hit the board in three starts this season.

Another pair of locals, Whenthedoveflies and Swift Replica, also put on a great show Saturday. The two speedsters battled eyeball to eyeball from gate to wire in the $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint Handicap before Whenthedoveflies prevailed by a head under jockey Pat Day.

Whenthedoveflies, the only filly in the race, had set a course record in her previous start. She is trained by Kirk Ziadie and is now 5 for 5 in five-furlong races on the grass.

Built Up was another of the Calder-based heroes, earning $55,000 and narrowly missing a much bigger payday when he was beaten a nose and a neck by Champali and Clock Stopper in the Smile Sprint.

Mary Murphy won $30,000 for her fourth-place finish in the star-studded Princess Rooney Handicap, and could have been closer if not for being put in tight quarters between horses and shuffled back to last entering the far turn of the Grade 2 dash.

Caller One has return race under belt

Caller One, a world-class sprinter before suffering a fractured sesamoid while training for the 2002 Summit of Speed, returned Saturday from a two-year layoff with a third-place finish in the two-furlong Rocket Man Stakes. Now 7, Caller One was beaten less than a length by quarter-mile specialist Pembroke Hall despite being pinched between the leaders near the wire.

"This wasn't about the win but about the race," said James Chapman, husband of part-owner Carolyn Chapman. "I was afraid maybe he grabbed a quarter when he stumbled a bit leaving the gate, but he seems fine."

Chapman said he was uncertain what would be next on the agenda for Caller One, who will be left at Calder to continue training with Laura Posada.

* The biggest winner of them all last Saturday was Calder itself, which drew a record $10,843,994 in all-sources handle on the 13-race card. The total eclipsed the old mark of $10.5 million bet on the 2003 Summit of Speed.