05/29/2003 11:00PM

Recruiting Summit of Speed-sters


MIAMI - Calder racing secretary Bob Umphrey will have a lot more on his mind than whether Funny Cide wins the Triple Crown when he journeys to New York this week for the Belmont Stakes.

Umphrey's main agenda during the visit will be to drum up business for Calder's increasingly popular Summit of Speed program on July 12. The Summit of Speed consists of six sprint stakes with a total value of $1.75 million, including the Grade 3 Smile Sprint and Grade 2 Princess Rooney handicaps, both of which will be worth $500,000 for the first time in 2003.

"I've already been to Kentucky and California and the response has been great," said Umphrey. "At least the trainers know why I'm there now - as opposed to when we started this thing a few years ago.

"It's a little early to get specific about what horses might be coming for the Summit of Speed," he said. "Once I finish recruiting at Belmont I should have a lot better idea on who might be heading this way for the day."

Umphrey will be hard pressed to duplicate last year's outstanding Summit of Speed program, which was highlighted by the victory of Orientate in the six-furlong Smile. Orientate went on to win the Breeders' Cup Sprint and an Eclipse Award as the nation's premier sprinter in 2002.

Umphrey was also able to lure the then-defending Eclipse Award winner Xtra Heat to Calder for the Princess Rooney. Xtra Heat carried a staggering 127 pounds and was upset by Gold Mover and jockey Jerry Bailey.

Rescheduled Ponche to be run Saturday

Umphrey will not be in Florida on Saturday, but he is hopeful he finally will be able to fill the $75,000 Ponche Handicap, which had to be postponed due to lack of interest last weekend. Umphrey is planning to use the Ponche as the main race on the 13-race live portion of Saturday's Belmont Day program at Calder.

"There were only four horses in the box for the Ponche when entries closed last week," Umphrey said, "Built Up, Lord Abounding, Danaher Steve, and Love My Mountain. Henry Collazo wanted to go in with his horse [Straight A] but said he'd developed an abscess and he couldn't make it in time, although he's pretty sure he'll be able to run this Saturday. That would make five, and if Hana Highway goes we'll be all right at six."

Built Up and Hana Highway will carry 119 pounds if they start, one more than Lord Abounding, who is likely to be a slight favorite.

French Satin tops Liberada on Sunday

The feature on Sunday's 10-race program is the $40,000-added Liberada Handicap. Also on the card will be the second start on the comeback trail for Lawbook, who is prepping for the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes on the Summit of Speed card.

French Satin, winless since taking the Tampa Oaks more than 14 months ago, tops a field of six older fillies and mares in the one-mile Liberada. Urbana Light, Sea Mist, Bay Street Gal, Gentille Alouette, and Victory Snit round out the lineup.

Lawbook, who won the first two legs of the 2002 Florida Stallion Stakes, was sidelined more than seven months after finishing sixth in his bid to sweep the series in the In Reality Stakes in mid-October. He returned with a strong performance on May 20, finishing second behind the older and more experienced Juggernaut in a fourth-level optional claimer. He will face slightly softer company on Sunday.