06/14/2010 11:00PM

Pica Slew shows star potential


MIAMI - Trainer Joe Calascibetta lost one potential star when unbeaten 2-year-old Cheyann Belief was sold privately shortly after winning his career debut for Calascibetta by 10 lengths here earlier this spring. But it didn't take long for the veteran horseman to find himself another potential star, the 3-year-old filly Pica Slew, who stole the show on Saturday's Summit of Speed Preview card.

Coming off just a maiden victory, Pica Slew dominated Saturday's six-furlong Leave Me Alone Stakes. Her 1 3/4-length margin of victory over Hot Hot Mama was not nearly indicative of how impressive a performance Pica Slew turned in while making just her third career start.

Pica Slew led every step of the way in the Leave Me Alone, even though jockey Manoel Cruz never asked her to run at any point of the race. Despite turning in what amounted to little more than a public workout, Pica Slew, a 3-year-old daughter of Pico Central, completed six furlongs in 1:10.96, her final time faster than 3-year-old males ran the same distance in the Unbridled Stakes and older fillies and mares covered six furlongs in the U Can Do It Handicap later on the card. Pica Slew earned a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

"Manny looked like he was water-skiing on her coming across the wire," was the way Calascibetta described the hold Cruz had on Pica Slew at the end of the Leave Me Alone.

Calascibetta has had Pica Slew in his barn less than three months. The homebred was sent to him early this spring by owners Sal and Colleen Simeone, who run under the nom de course of the Terra Di Sienna Stables.

"The Simeones have a 270-acre farm in Ocala and own about 50 to 70 mares," said Calascibetta. "Naturally they've received several inquiries about selling this horse, but they want to keep her and eventually make her part of their broodmare band."

Calascibetta said he had some reservations about running Pica Slew in a stakes off just one maiden race, but circumstances forced his hand in that direction.

"I originally had her entered against maidens on the day they had a fire in the television control truck, and the card was canceled a couple of hours before post time for her race," said Calascibetta. "I wound up having to breeze her again and wait another week before running her back and as a result had to pass the allowance race because we just didn't have the time to do that and still make the stakes on Saturday."

Calascibetta said he will stick to his original plan of running Pica Slew in the Grade 3 Azalea here on the July 10 Summit of Speed program before looking for more lucrative opportunities later this summer.

"I told the Simeones that they had a nice 3-year-old program for fillies here early in the meet with this little stakes last Saturday and the Azalea, and after that, if all goes well, then we can go bear hunting," said Calascibetta. "Eventually I want to get her around two turns. I know she'll stay, and somewhere down the line she's going to grass, too. But I don't want to put too much on her plate right now. I haven't had a filly like this in a long time. She moves beautifully. And what a mind! She walks to the paddock like a soldier and does everything perfectly."

Once word gets out about Pica Slew's performance in the Leave Me Alone, it's not likely too many Northern-based horsemen will want to ship one of their good 3-year-old filly sprinters to south Florida to meet her over her home grounds in the Azalea.

"The fact the purse for the Azalea is only $150,000 this year might discourage people from shipping down into this heat to face a filly like her," said Calascibetta. "For once the smaller money may actually work in our favor."

Wolfson 2 for 4 in stakes

Pica Slew stole some of the thunder here Saturday from trainer Marty Wolfson, who sent out the winners of two of the four stakes on the card. Wolfson won the Unbridled with the lightly raced Coffee Boy and the U Can Do It with First Passage, one of five fillies and mares he ran in the final local prep for the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 10. Both Coffee Boy and First Passage were ridden to victory by Jermaine Bridgmohan.

Saez takes the lead

Apprentice sensation Luis Saez rode 11 winners last week to regain the lead from defending champion Cruz in the seesaw jockeys' race. Five of Saez's victories came on Saturday, including Big Drama in the Ponche Handicap. Saez will take a 49-44 advantage over Cruz into Thursday's card.

Cruz will be heavily favored to cut the deficit a bit when he rides the odds-on Americanrevolution in Thursday's co-featured seventh race. Americanrevolution snapped a five-race losing streak dating back over a year, drawing away to an easy seven-length victory over first-level optional claiming opposition earlier this month. He will return against $16,000 starter allowance company on Thursday for trainer Bill White.

No fractures for Portillo

The prognosis for jockey Doug Portillo, who was injured in a freak mishap in the paddock on Saturday, is much better than first anticipated. Portillo was originally thought to have suffered several fractures in the area around his right hip after being kicked by his mount, Sucker Plucker, while saddling for Saturday's fourth race. But further X-rays revealed no fractures, only severe bruising and swelling in the area of the injury, according to Portillo's agent, Ed Fyffe.

"Right now, we are anticipating he could be back in about three weeks," Fyffe said. "The time frame will depend on how fast the swelling goes down and he can begin therapy."

Portillo was taken to a hospital immediately after the incident, necessitating a delay of nearly 40 minutes until a backup ambulance arrived on the grounds.