06/10/2008 11:00PM

Mora surprised by her rate of success


MIAMI - Marty Wolfson and Joe Calascibetta have been saddling winners here this spring at a 33 percent clip, and leading trainer Kirk Ziadie is maintaining a near 30 percent success rate for the meet. But they all pale in comparison to the 60 percent mark trainer Myra Mora has posted, with 6 victories from just 10 starters during the first 29 days of the current session.

Mora, who won only seven races in all of 2007, admitted she is as surprised as anyone about the success she's had since her arrival here from Tampa Bay Downs early in the meet.

"I'm elated but also a little shocked myself," Mora said. "And I owe a lot to my workers. I have great help, they all do such a good job, and in turn that makes my job so much easier."

Mora is working with only a five-horse stable, two of which, Gentleman James and Saratoga Tango, will step up into stakes company on Saturday's Summit of Speed Preview card off easy allowance wins. Still, it's no secret who the favorite horse in her barn is: The 10-year-old Tour of the Cat.

Mora trained Tour of the Cat from the time owner Susan Gannon's Double G Stable claimed him for $25,000 out of his maiden win as a 2-year-old here in November 2000 through the fall of his 2004 campaign. During that time, the son of Tour d'Or won nine stakes, including the Grade 2 Richter Scale at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Miami Mile Breeders' Cup and Spend a Buck handicaps at Calder in 2003. He also finished eighth for Mora the following spring in the Grade 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba.

After that race, Tour of the Cat left the Mora barn and ran for several trainers.

"I can't tell you how happy I am to have him back," Mora said. "I stopped coming to Calder for the past several years, which is why he moved on to other barns, but when the owner found out I was returning here this summer, she called and asked me if I'd like him back. He's 10 now and has his problems, but I love him and he's worth every minute of the work we have to put into him each day."

Mora and her staff were rewarded for all that hard work when Tour of the Cat registered his first victory in more than a year by capturing an optional claiming and allowance race on May 4. He returned to finish third in a starter allowance May 22.

"He certainly gave me some of the best memories of my career," Mora said. "Like when he won the Richter Scale and the day he set the 6 1/2-furlong track record [1:15.99] that still stands here at Calder. And the trip to Dubai was just fabulous. We were there for three weeks and both me and my horse got the red-carpet treatment the whole time. I'll probably never have an opportunity to do something like that again."

Mora has won with 4 of the last 5 horses she's saddled, including Flatter Me Blue in last Sunday's main event. On Saturday, Gentleman James will take on onetime Triple Crown hopeful Golden Spikes in the $100,000 Unbridled Stakes, while Saratoga Tango makes her stakes debut in the $100,000 U Can Do It Handicap.

"I hope Gentleman James is not in over his head," Mora said. "I've tried him in stakes before, and he did finish second once, but I've kind of figured out that he'll do better going short than long. Saratoga Tango seems to be at her best right now, so I thought we'd take advantage of that fact and try her in a stakes."

Mora, who has spent the past several summers in Kentucky, New York, and Canada, said she returned to Florida for personal reasons.

"I've had some family tragedies along with some health issues recently, and felt it was best to stay close to my home, which is in Tampa, this summer," Mora explained. "But winning races is great medicine, all the horses are doing well, and I'm just super happy at the moment."

Jockey Manny Aguilar has been the major beneficiary of Mora's success this spring. He was aboard Flatter Me Blue, Gentleman James, and Saratoga Tango for their most recent wins and will have the mounts again on the latter pair on the Summit of Speed Preview card. Aguilar was tied for fourth in the meet standings entering Thursday, just a single win out of third position, with 21 victories.

Trujillo returning to Calder for Saturday stakes

Elvis Trujillo, who gave up the opportunity to defend his Calder riding title when he switched his tack to Churchill Downs last month, will return and ride in each of the four $100,000 stakes on Saturday's card.

Trujillo, who won 160 races to easily capture the 2007 Calder riding championship, will be aboard likely favorite Golden Spikes for trainer Marty Wolfson in the Unbridled, along with three horses for leading trainer Ziadie: R Salty Vet in the Leave Me Alone Stakes, Rgirldoesn'tbluff in the U Can Do It, and Paradise Dancer in the Ponche.