05/26/2009 11:00PM

Stakes veteran drops again


MIAMI - Whos Crying Now has started 58 times during his career, 32 of those appearances coming in stakes races. But on Friday, the 9-year-old veteran will have just a $25,000 price tag on his head when he goes postward as the horse to beat in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming event at Calder that drew a field of six vying for a $26,000 purse.

Whos Crying Now, a son of Concerto, will be making just his fourth start of the season in Friday's main event. The hard-knocking old pro upset $40,000 claiming rivals to the tune of a $115 mutuel when kicking off his 2009 campaign this winter at Gulfstream Park. The victory was the first in more than 14 months for Whose Crying Now, who has registered 11 wins, including a pair of stakes tallies, and banked in excess of $733,000 for owners Jacqueline and Manny Tortora during his long and successful career.

Trained by Manny Tortora, Whos Crying Now will be making his first start over his home course since an eighth-place finish behind It's a Bird in the Grade 3 Spend a Buck Handicap last October. He has not run since rallying to be second behind another former stakes-caliber performer, B. B. Best, under a $40,000 claiming tag at Gulfstream on April 19.

Whos Crying Now will get a break in weights ranging from five to eight pounds from his five rivals on Friday with apprentice Eddie Dominguez taking the call.

Nathan Ridge, who has had some graded stakes experience of his own, looms a key contender. He exits a last-to-first, 1 1/4-length victory in a straight $25,000 claiming race that was switched from the turf to the main track just 12 days ago. Like Whos Crying Now, Nathan Ridge does his best running from behind and will need a legitimate pace if he is to repeat his recent performance.

The speed of the field figures to come from Silver Man Can, who will be making his local debut and first start anywhere since May 2008. Silver Man Can has trained forwardly for his return for trainer Mike McDonald and figures to take the field as far as he'll go on the front end.

Trying Brian also figures while competing on dirt for the first time this season. Trying Brian returned from a 10-month layoff to finish third in an open $20,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park before dropping in against conditioned selling foes to register an easy 3 1/4-length decision on May 7.

Marina Ballerina tops Cool Air

Multiple stakes winner Marina Ballerina figures to be heavily favored over defending champion Charlie Papa in Saturday's $55,000 Cool Air Stakes, which is carded at five furlongs on the turf, weather permitting.

Marina Ballerina ships in from Kentucky off a second-place finish in Keeneland's Giant's Causeway Stakes. Charlie Papa, a one-length winner at odds of 2-5 in the 2008 Cool Air, has not starting since winning an allowance race over the Tampa turf course on April 1.

* Mambo Meister breezed an easy half-mile in 52 seconds here Wednesday for trainer Phil Gleaves. The work was the first for the versatile gelding since his 4 3/4-length victory in the Big Bubble Stakes on May 16.