Updated on 09/16/2011 7:21AM

Stormy Do has enough of what it takes


MIAMI - At the age of 9, Stormy Do's stakes days may be over. But the once-classy gelding is still fast and will be tough to beat when he goes against seven other optional claiming and allowance runners in Monday's $29,000 feature at Calder.

In his younger days, Stormy Do was among the leaders of the local sprint division. A homebred owned and trained by Jerry Bozzo, he has an impressive resume that includes a second and two thirds in the Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, a second in the Groomstick Handicap, and numerous allowance and overnight handicap victories.

But it has been almost two years since Stormy Do last visited the winner's circle. After only two starts in 2001, Stormy Do has raced six times this season. In his most recent appearance, the Ponche Handicap here April 27, he finished a tiring fourth after contesting the early pace.

Stormy Do has always been at his best at Calder and figures to be on or with the pace throughout in Monday's headliner with Roger Velez Jr. aboard.

Uncle Rocco, who split a couple of decisions with Stormy Do this winter at Gulfstream, and Highway Prospector are the ones to beat.

Uncle Rocco returns to the main course off a pair of turf sprints, including the Yankee Affair Stakes, in which he finished a troubled fifth behind the speedy Texas Glitter. A versatile sort, Uncle Rocco won for a $62,500 claiming price when he last raced over dirt, at Gulfstream on March 11.

Highway Prospector has been idle two months and drops in for a $57,500 claiming price after defeating $80,000 optional claiming rivals at Gulfstream on Feb. 24. He, too, has always been fond of the local strip, having posted back-to-back 101 Beyer Speed Figures winning his second- and third-level allowance conditions here last fall.

Cruz getting noticed, honored

Jockey Manoel Cruz has made a quick impression on local horsemen, not only for the races he has won since his arrival from Tampa Bay Downs this past week, but also for one he didn't.

Cruz, the leading rider at the recently concluded Tampa meet, has won with three of the first eight mounts he has accepted here, including a pair on Saturday's card. But it was the way he managed to stay aboard and guide Blake's Groomstick to safety after having his right rein snap shortly after the start of Saturday's fifth race that also caught the attention of local trainers and helped earn Cruz jockey-of-the-month honors from the track's publicity department.

Both of Cruz's winners Saturday came for trainer Kathleen O'Connell, who had a string of horses stabled at Tampa once again this past season.

* Trainer Stanley Ersoff has indicated that his multiple graded stakes winner Band Is Passing will skip Saturday's $75,000 Carterista Handicap because of a bruised foot. Band is Passing was a late scratch from the Jackie Wackie Handicap on April 28 because of the injury.