10/12/2007 11:00PM

Poor start no problem for Calico Bay

EmailMIAMI - Calico Bay overcame an eventful start to deny Silk Ridge a sweep of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, rallying from last for an impressive four-length victory in Saturday's $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes at Calder Race Course.

Calico Bay, a daughter of Three Wonders owned by Ione and Herb Elkins, broke awkwardly and left the gate a couple of lengths behind the field in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl. After lagging at the rear of the pack until entering the far turn, Calico Bay unleashed a strong rally under jockey Manoel Cruz to overtake the tiring Silk Ridge approaching the sixteenth pole and win going away.

Silk Ridge, the 3-5 favorite who brought a three-race win streak into the My Dear Girl - including victories in the Desert Vixen and Susan's Girl divisions of the Stallion Series - prompted the pace of longshot Incendiary, surged well clear approaching the far turn, but proved no match for the winner while finishing second, nearly two lengths clear of Awesome Dreamer.

Calico Bay, second behind Silk Ridge in both the Desert Vixen and Susan's Girl, covered the distance in 1:48.49 over a good track and returned $13.80.

"I wasn't too happy when she didn't break, but sometimes things work out for the best," said trainer Bill Kaplan. "She was able to relax back there while most of the others were kind of bunched up front."

Calico Bay's victory marked the second time a Kaplan-trained filly had prevented a sweep of the Stallion Stakes. Fortune Pending finished second for Kaplan behind Cottage Flower in the first two legs of the 1994 series before turning the tables to win the My Dear Girl.

Gordon Potter, who trains Silk Ridge, said "she didn't relax very well in the race, and the way the track came up probably didn't help either."

Wise Answer wins In Reality by 10 lengths

Wise Answer left little doubt who the best 2-year-old on the grounds is after registering a 10-length triumph in the $400,000 In Reality Stakes. Trainer Kathleen O'Connell's uncoupled entry of Cigar Man, Check It Twice, and Sir Dave finished second, third, and fourth, respectively. The margin of victory was the largest in the 26-year history of the race.

Wise Answer, easy winner of the seven-furlong Affirmed and mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure in his last two starts, missed a chance to sweep the series when he finished second behind Big City Man in the Dr. Fager Stakes.

Wise Answer rated off the pace of Inner Light, then put the In Reality away when making a decisive move to the lead along the rail approaching the far turn under jockey Eibar Coa. The son of Wised Up steadily increased his advantage while kept under steady pressure.

Wise Answer, a homebred owned by J D Farms, ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.51, nearly three seconds faster than Calico Bay's final clocking in the My Dear Girl, and paid $2.80.

"This race was flawless," said Wise Answer's trainer David Brownlee. "We'll give him a breather now. He's had five tough races so he'll get about a month off and come back in the fall."