10/08/2008 11:00PM

Mambo Meister leaning toward Miami Mile

Email

MIAMI - With graded stakes opportunities around two turns for older horses on turf and dirt here at Calder on next Saturday's Festival of the Sun program, it was not surprising to see several horses nominated for both the Grade 3 Spend a Buck and Miami Mile handicaps. Among them is Mambo Meister, who is back home following his seventh-place finish behind the Breeders' Cup-bound My Pal Charlie in the Grade 2 Super Derby on Sept. 20.

Mambo Meister has registered all three career victories on dirt. In fact he has run just twice on grass, both times during his 2-year-old campaign. But despite his apparent preference for the main track, Mambo Meister is being pointed for the Miami Mile on turf.

"We haven't ruled anything out yet, but at the moment I'd say we're leaning heavily towards the Miami Mile," trainer Phil Gleaves said Thursday. "We've been trying to get him back on grass all summer but have been rained out here and there, and now looks like as good a time as any to try again."

As a son of King Cugat out of a Desert Secret mare, Mambo Meister certainly has the pedigree to handle the turf.

"He had no excuses in Louisiana other than perhaps he doesn't want to go a mile and one-eighth in top company like that," said Gleaves.

Gleaves is also shopping around for a rider because Manoel Cruz, who guided Mambo Meister to a pair of overnight stakes wins here earlier this meet, is committed to ride Soldier's Dancer in the Miami Mile.

Three-win day for Vivian, Nunez

Trainer David Vivian, whose Soldier's Dancer figures to be the heavy favorite in the Miami Mile, combined with jockey Eduardo Nunez to win three races on Thursday's card, including the early daily double with Country Monarch and the promising 2-year-old filly Pink Gloss.

Both Country Monarch and Pink Gloss left no doubt, drawing off to win by margins of 12 and 7 1/4 lengths, respectively. Vivian and Nunez also won with first-time starter Codfather in the sixth race.

Pink Gloss may be stakes bound after finally winning her maiden following a couple of frustrating losses to open her career.

A daughter of Songandaprayer, Pink Gloss was caught in the final strides by Will O Way in her career debut in late July. Will O Way has gone on to become graded-stakes- placed in California.

In her second start, Pink Gloss was outfinished by the first-time starter Frolics Dream, who will likely be favored here next Saturday to win the 5 1/2-furlong Cassidy Stakes.