10/19/2009 11:00PM

Mambo Meister's connections debate BC try

Email
Jim Lisa
Mambo Meister, winner of the Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder on Saturday, is uncertain for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, despite having earned an automatic berth in the race.

MIAMI - Mambo Meister earned himself a starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile by virtue of his impressive victory in Saturday's . However, the decision whether to accept that bid is not as simple or straightforward as one might think.

"We started talking about it right after the race," trainer Phil Greaves said, referring to Mambo Meister's ownership group, which races under the nom de course of Quantum Racing Team #1 LLC. "Naturally, we'd love to go. Unfortunately, it's just not as easy as simply saying we'll go."

Gleaves said he and the owners are in the process of gathering the necessary information to help make their decision, which is not likely to come until the end of the week.

"We need to find out things like who is going into the race and what the expenses might be to get him out there," Gleaves explained. "A lot depends on who else might be going to the Breeders' Cup from down here. If we have to incur the entire expense of the flight to California ourselves, it could make a big difference."

As for Mambo Meister's performance in the Spend a Buck, Gleaves couldn't have been more pleased. The versatile 4-year-old, who finished second earlier this summer on turf in the at Saratoga, rallied from just off the pace to a decisive 3 3/4-length victory over even-money favorite Motovato.

"We were all impressed with his race," Gleaves said. "He finished strong and looked good. Of course going to the Breeders' Cup would mean running over the Pro-Ride surface for the first time. He's never even seen a synthetic track before, which is another consideration in our decision, although he runs well over anything and it seems like turf horses really do like it. I don't see that as a major issue with him. It's certainly going to be a tough decision to make but a nice problem to have."

Sweetlalabye, Jackson Bend unlikely for BC

It doesn't seem likely that Mambo Meister will have any local company on a flight to California for the Breeders' Cup. Trainer Manny Tortora definitely said no to any thoughts of bringing his homebred Sweetlalabye to Santa Anita to race over the Pro-Ride in the Juvenile Fillies, despite her victory in Saturday's , pretty much echoed those sentiments.

"I haven't even discussed the issue with the owner, but both of us pretty much said the same thing in post-race interviews on Saturday regarding the Breeders' Cup," Gold said. "That in our opinions we're not interested in racing Jackson Bend over the artificial surface. Nothing has been talked about regarding his immediate future, although I'd be content at the moment to wait for Gulfstream and the series of races there that lead up to the Kentucky Derby."

Gold did report that Jackson Bend came out of the In Reality none the worse for wear despite stumbling badly leaving the starting gate.

"Fortunately, he came back good," Gold said. "No nicks, cuts, or anything. I guess maybe the soft track saved us there."

Saez returning to ride at Calder

Luis Saez, who packed his tack and headed for New York last week after riding 53 winners in less than two months locally, has decided to return to Calder and ride out the remainder of the Tropical meeting.

Peter Wright, Saez's agent, said the native of Panama "could not handle the colder weather up north. And it's still only October."

Saez quickly made many fans among trainers and horseplayers when he began his U.S. career here earlier this summer. But they'll all have to wait a week to avail themselves of his talents. Saez must first serve out a riding suspension and will not ride again until Oct. 30.

Cruz, White win Calder titles

Manny Cruz, Bill White, and Steve Dwoskin were the big individual winners during the Calder meet that concluded Sunday.

Cruz won his third Calder riding title and sixth local championship overall, dominating the standings with 167 victories during the 105-day meet. Jeffrey Sanchez finished second (86), with Calder's all-time winningest rider Eduardo Nunez third (73).

White, who won eight consecutive Calder titles from 1997-2004 and another in 2006, got off to a bit of a slow start but exploded during the second half of the meet to easily outdistance runner-up Marty Wolfson 51-34 for the trainer crown.

Dwoskin, third in the trainers' standings with 29 winners, was the meet's leading owner, breaking a three-way deadlock atop the standings heading into the final day of the session with a pair of winners on Sunday's card. Chris Gatis and the Monarch Stable finished in a dead heat for second.

The 47-day Tropical meet opens Thursday and runs through Jan. 2.

* Friday will mark the grand opening of the Studz Poker Club at Calder. The room, located on the first floor of the grandstand at the west entrance, includes 29 tables along with amenities such as tableside food, beverage, and massage service. Wagering on both live and simulcast racing also will be available.