06/25/2009 11:00PM

Return trip from Dubai


MIAMI - Jockey Jose Verenzuela, who earned international recognition by guiding Big City Man to victory early this spring in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, will return to Calder to ride on a regular basis beginning this coming week.

Verenzuela, an 18-year veteran, rode in south Florida for two years in the late 1990s before moving his tack to the Middle East on a regular basis a decade ago. His victory aboard Big City Man in the $2 million Golden Shaheen, a race won in an upset over Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing, was by far the biggest of his career.

Verenzuela said he plans to ride locally until racing resumes in the Middle East in November. He is also expecting to be reunited with Big City Man when the speedster returns later this summer in California. Big City Man began his career at Calder before being sold privately to Sultan Mohd Saud Al Kabeer during his 2-year-old campaign. Big City Man was trained by Jerry Barton for the Golden Shaheen but is now with trainer Jeff Mullins at Hollywood Park, where he has had three workouts, including a five-furlong drill in 58.80 seconds last Sunday morning.

Mullins said Friday that Big City Man would not return to his Calder roots for the Grade 2 Smile on July 11. Instead, plans call for Big City Man to make his next start at Del Mar in the Bing Crosby as the first step on the road to the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November.

Verenzuela's riding engagements during his four-month stay at Calder will be handled by former jockey Jose Velez.

Benny the Bull works for Smile

The $350,000 Smile shares top billing on the card with Calder's only Grade 1 race, the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap for fillies and mares. Both races are designated as Win and You're In events for the 2009 Breeders' Cup. The Summit of Speed also includes the Grade 2 Carry Back for 3-year-olds and Grade 3 Azalea for 3-year-old fillies.

Benny the Bull, who will return to defend his title in the Smile, tuned up for the assignment by working a bullet half-mile in 47.56 seconds Friday at Aqueduct. Edgar Prado will be aboard Benny the Bull for the Smile and will also have the mount on Keep the Peace for trainer Eddie Kenneally in the Princess Rooney.

White has three-win day

Bill White, perennial leading trainer during Calder summer sessions for more than a decade, thrust himself back to the top of the leader board once again after sending out three winners on Thursday's program. White's hat trick put him in a temporary tie for the top spot with Marty Wolfson through the first 38 days of the session. Wolfson snapped the deadlock the following afternoon with Royal Card's victory in Friday's featured ninth race.

White employed the services of three different riders to earn his three-bagger. Apprentice Jose Angel Garcia got the ball rolling with Bracketology in the third race, leading rider Manny Cruz got the job done with Shoeshone Girl in the fifth event, and Jeffrey Sanchez drove Yes It's White to a hard-fought decision in the finale.

Purita pulls off shocker

Purita turned in perhaps the most shocking victory of the meet, rolling to an easy wire-to-wire triumph in Friday's opener. Purita, a 2-year-old daughter of Pure Precision, had been beaten a combined 53 lengths and earned Beyer Speed Figures of 0 against similar competition in her only two previous starts. Purita was ridden to her unexpected maiden win by Daniel Coa for trainer Laura Posada and paid $176.20.