10/12/2006 11:00PM

Running Lass a key figure in final stakes


MIAMI - The final stakes of the 112-day Calder meet will be decided Sunday when 3-year-old fillies go six furlongs in the $45,000 Lady Sonata. The Tropical-at-Calder meeting opens Monday.

The enigmatic Running Lass may be the key to the Lady Sonata. The multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old is coming off one of the poorest performances of her career in the Judy's Red Shoes Stakes, where she finished ninth after racing rankly and striking the inner rail several times after being taken in hand shortly after the start of the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

The performance was uncharacteristic for the speedy filly, who is usually on or with the pace in sprint races and was good enough to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 posting a gate-to-wire 1 1/2-length victory in the five-furlong Gene's Big Sky Stakes during the summer. She used a similar style to capture the Ocala Breeders Sales Sprint Stakes by four lengths in March.

Running Lass is part of the Angel Salinas-trained entry along with the rapidly improving Winning Line, who has captured two of her last three starts and is a neck shy of bringing a three-race victory streak into the Lady Sonata. Manoel Cruz, who has run away with the Calder riding title, was listed overnight on both fillies, which likely indicates that only one of the pair will start.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff, who has chased the Salinas duo home on several occasions this year; the red-hot Annabill; and the stakes-placed pair of No Hear Say and Send Me an Angel are among the other key contenders in a field that also includes Imelda Oh and Our Little Buck.

Grand Slam II card has top Tropical stakes

The 60-day Tropical meeting will feature five multiple-stakes cards, including a repeat of the unique Extreme Day card, a portion of which was washed away due to rain this summer. The two most prestigious races of the session will again be the $200,000 W.L. McKnight Handicap and its filly-and-mare counterpart, the $200,000 La Prevoyante Handicap, both of which are Grade 2 races carded at 1 1/2 miles on the turf. They will be part of Grand Slam II on Dec. 16, which also will offer the Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. and Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper handicaps for older horses.

Races for second among riders and trainers

The only contests left to decide before the Calder meet ends Sunday are for second place in both the jockey and trainer standings.

Jeffrey Sanchez and Abel Castellano Jr. are in a battle to finish second behind Cruz in the jockey race, while Kirk Ziadie and Eddie Plesa Jr. will duel to the wire for runner-up honors behind leading trainer Bill White.

Thompson mending after accident

Veteran trainer Yvette Thompson is recuperating from serious injuries suffered in an automobile accident that occurred outside the stable gate here on Oct. 8. Thompson suffered a broken pelvis as well as head and leg injuries in the incident.

Thompson was in the Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital on Friday but was expected to be moved to Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood within a few days.

Thompson has saddled one winner from 16 starters during the current session.

* Chris Morales won his first race of the meet on Thursday when he guided Tilt My Horns to a wire-to-wire victory for trainer Jorge Romero. The win came with Morales's 61st mount of the session.

* Trainer Rosemary Homeister Sr. had won only two races during the first 108 days of the current meeting, then went out and won two races within about a 108-minute span on Thursday, sending out Shane Jules and As Himself to victories in the sixth and ninth events on the card. Both horses were ridden to victory by her daughter, jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr.