06/21/2001 11:00PM

Summit of Speed to draw top names


MIAMI, Fla. - Nominations for the second annual Summit of Speed program, featuring $1 million of sprint stakes at Calder on July 14, close Saturday and when they do racing secretary Bob Umphrey is confident that the lists for the afternoon's three major stakes will be brimming with the names of many of the fastest sprinters stabled coast to coast.

The Summit of Speed, which debuted last summer to rave reviews, offers five sprint stakes, highlighted by the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap for older fillies and mares. The card also includes the $250,000 Azalea Breeders' Cup and Carry Back stakes, both for 3-year-olds, and the Azalea exclusively for fillies. Both the Princess Rooney and Azalea are Grade 3's. All three races will be run at six furlongs.

In 2000, Hurricane Bertie, her stablemate Swept Away, and Caller One shipped in to win the Princess Rooney, Azalea, and Carry Back, respectively. And Umphrey, who traveled to both California and New York earlier this month to promote the Summit of Speed, anticipates the starting lineups for all three events will offer the same kind of quality again this season.

"It's a little hard to speculate exactly who might be coming at this point but I can say one thing for certain - the reception I received on both coasts was unbelievable," said Umphrey. "With the success we had with the Summit of Speed last year people around the country are now cognizant of the event and I anticipate we'll get a lot of shippers for all the races. Although until the nominations actually close it's a little early to get too specific about exactly who might come."

The first major stakes for juveniles will be run here the next two weekends, beginning with the $100,000 J j'sdream for fillies on Saturday, June 30, followed by the $100,000 Criterium for colts and geldings the following week.

Among the nominees for the J j'sdream are a pair from trainer Dale Romans's barn, including Open Story, who finished in a dead heat for first when facing the boys in the Three Chimneys Juvenile Stakes on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

The local contingent includes two-time winner Wicklow Echo, now under the training of Duke Davis, who won this race in 1986 with Mar Mar and in 1995 with U Can Do It.

The leading candidate for the Criterium is Pure Precision, a Kinsman Stud homebred who turned in the most impressive performance by any juvenile thus far at this meet, when he dominated maiden allowance company in his career debut.

The Criterium will likely be Pure Precision's last local appearance. A son of Montbrook, he is not eligible for the Florida Stallion Series.