11/16/2007 12:00AM

Stakes black type a casualty of purse cuts

EmailMIAMI - The $35,000 Stormy Frolic Stakes, which highlights Sunday's program, is the first race to be significantly affected by the purse cuts that were instituted by management here last week.

The Stormy Frolic, an overnight event for 3-year-old fillies, was originally valued at $50,000, which meant the race would have also carried black type for the first three finishers. Horses earn black type, an important measure of their value as potential broodmare or stallion prospects, only in races with purses of $50,000 or more.

"The purse cuts in the overnight stakes and the loss of black type in these races is one of the major concerns horsemen and breeders had when they were announced last week," said Phil Combest, vice president of the Florida Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association. "To some owners and trainers, the loss of potential black type for their horses, or in the case of breeders for their stallions, is even more important than losing the purse money itself."

Overnight purses were reduced approximately 7 percent effective last Thursday. In addition, purses for overnight stakes, like the Stormy Frolic, were cut from $50,000 to $35,000, while both the $100,000 Cherokee Frolic and $100,000 Kris S. Stakes were eliminated altogether. The Florida HBPA and the breeders held a meeting earlier this week to address the cuts, and subsequently forwarded some of their concerns and suggestions to representatives of Calder and track owner Churchill Downs Inc.

"Cutting purses was strictly a business decision," Calder president Ken Dunn said. "Thus far, business at the Tropical meet has been down for a number of reasons, and as a result we saw we couldn't continue paying purses at the current level. But we do evaluate the numbers on a weekly basis and there's every chance we could make another adjustment if business improves during the remainder of the meet."

For Northern horsemen who recently shipped to the area with plans of running in some of the overnight stakes, the decision to cut the purses was particularly distressing.

"For me, it's annoying because I've got two horses, one 3-year-old filly and another older mare, who I sent to Florida two weeks ago to prepare for these races to try to get them some black type," trainer Christophe Clement said. "Now I'll have to go to Plan B and send them either to the Fair Grounds or California. Some of us rely on Calder in November and December. It's difficult for me to believe they cut the purses from what they were and it's worrying for both the state of racing in general and the state of racing at Calder in particular."

Stormy Folic draws six fillies

Whether the purse cut had any effect on the field size is impossible to tell, although the 1 1/16-mile Stormy Frolic drew only six fillies, led by Dantrelle Light, Post Invader, Suaveness, and Casa Mimaty.

Dantrelle Light captured a third-level optional claiming race while facing older horses for the first time in her last start, defeating Silkily by a length. Silkily also returns in the Stormy Frolic.

Post Invader will make her first start since finishing far back in Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes on Feb. 10. Post Invader finished fourth in the Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 2 Adirondack stakes at 2.

Suaveness has tailed off since finishing second in the Grade 3 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs and third in the Strikethedancer Stakes here earlier this year.

Casa Mimaty was a seven-length winner of the Strikethedancer but has been winless in five subsequent starts while splitting her time between turf and dirt.