10/29/2008 11:00PM

Million Day lures big-name trainers


MIAMI - After seeing pretty much the same faces week in and week out since the meet began in late April, local fans will get some fresh faces along with a taste of what lies ahead for south Florida in the coming months when Calder holds its Florida Million program here next Saturday.

Florida Million Day consists of eight stakes restricted to Florida-breds and valued at $1.2 million, topped by the $200,000 Carl G. Rose Classic and Elmer Heubeck Distaff handicaps. And from the looks of the nomination sheets, the starting lineups figure to feature a nice mix of local favorites and talented shippers, the majority of whom will remain in town for the winter.

"We've got nominations from New York trainers like Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, Christophe Clement, and Mark Hennig, just to name a few, and even a couple out of California from Mel Stute and Jerry Hollendorfer," said racing secretary Mike Anifantis. "And it sounds like most of the these guys will be sending one or more horses in for Florida Million Day."

The Heubeck figures to attract several shippers, including Bayou's Lassie and Peach Flambe, second and third behind the locally based Annabill in the same event a year ago, along with the Hollendorfer-trained Christmas Ship.

Bayou's Lassie, who began her career locally, has kept a steady diet of Grade 1 company during the second half of the campaign. In her most recent appearance, Bayou's Lassie finished fourth behind Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Forever Together in Keeneland's First Lady on Oct. 3.

Peach Flambe was last seen around this area capturing Gulfstream Park's Cicada Stakes in mid-April. She forced the pace through midstretch before tiring to finish third in the 2007 Heubeck.

Christmas Ship has been racing exclusively on the West Coast for Hollendorfer, and like Bayou's Lassie will be switching from turf to dirt if she shows up for the Heubeck.

Annabill, who has posted all but one of her 17 wins at Calder, has put together another solid campaign for trainer Milt Wolfson, having posted five victories in 2007 including a pair of stakes tallies.

Perhaps the two most intriguing Florida Million nominees are 2-year-olds You Luckie Mann and Frolic's Dream, who are likely to start in the $150,000 Jack Price Juvenile and Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies, respectively. They posted the highest Beyer Speed Figures of any 2-year-old in the country this season when romping to easy stakes victories here on the Festival of the Sun program. You Luckie Mann earned a 108 Beyer for his 11-length triumph in the Birdonthewire, and Frolic's Dream got a 106 for her 12 3/4-length tally earlier that day in the Cassidy. Both are trained by Marty Wolfson.

Turf works for Million hopefuls

Monday has traditionally been work day for turf horses, weather permitting, during the Calder meet. But that precedent was broken when eight horses took to the grass to breeze at the end of training hours in Thursday, including several nominated for the Florida Million program.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. sent out three to work over the turf, including Edgemoor, who went a half-mile around the dogs in 50.91 seconds in preparation for his grass debut in the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf. Edgemoor is coming off a third-place finish in the In Reality Stakes.

His stablemate Exe, third in the My Dear Girl, also got her first taste of the turf on Thursday for a possible start in the $100,000 John Franks Juvenile Fillies. Other potential Franks starters to work on the grass were Brazilianbombshell, five furlongs in 1:03.40, and R. Brown Sugar, four furlongs in 50.80.