12/18/2008 12:00AM

Tests for young prospects


MIAMI - Stakes racing is over for the remainder of the meet but that doesn't mean there still isn't plenty of good racing left before the curtain closes on the Tropical at Calder season on Jan. 2. Saturday's card is a case in point, featuring a trio of allowance events, including a pair for 2-year-old prospects.

Trainer Nick Zito, who sent over the promising juvenile Nowhere to Hide to win his maiden here last weekend, will trot out another young hopeful, Rocketing Returns, in Saturday's eighth race, to be decided at seven furlongs under entry-level allowance conditions. Rocketing Returns is a son of Gone West out of the four-time stakes winner and multiple Grade 1 stakes-placed mare Spring Meadow. In his two starts, Rocketing Returns finished second, beaten less than a length, following an unlucky beginning at Saratoga before returning to win his maiden going 6 1/2 furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 16.

Rocketing Returns will have his hands full in a race where his competition includes a pair of undefeated colts, Jet Set Vinny and Summerton, along with the stakes-tested Edgemoor.

Jet Set Vinny is a son of Vindication and the two-time stakes winner Fighting Jet. He's also a half-brother to Grade 2 winner Wrangler. Jet Set Vinny won his debut impressively last month at the Meadowlands, drawing off to an easy five-length victory over a muddy track for trainer Cam Gambolati.

Summerton and Edgemoor own the hometown advantage over both Rocketing Returns and Jet Set Vinny. Summerton opened his career at Calder with a six-length maiden victory on Nov. 15 and has continued to train forwardly under the guidance of trainer Leo Azpurua Jr.

Edgemoor is the most experienced member of the lineup, having followed a 12-length maiden win going a mile on Sept. 27 by finishing third in the In Reality Stakes and fourth making his grass debut in the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf. Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. will put blinkers on Edgemoor for the first time Saturday.

Stately Character will have the rare opportunity of entering a first-level allowance as a stakes winner when he meets nine other 2-year-olds on the turf, weather permitting, in Saturday's sixth race.

Stately Character has not started since he rallied from last to a 1 1/2-length tally in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 27, nor has he ever raced on grass. Stately Character is by Pleasant Tap out of an unraced mare whose only previous foal was winless in two tries over turf.

Among the proven turf commodities in the lineup are It's Out There, Abe Is Honest, and Cape Royale, all of whom won their maidens over the local grass course earlier in the season.

Turf could also be a question mark for the well-bred Rockland, who is a half-brother to the Grade 1 stakes- placed Coal Play by Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones and is exiting an extremely game maiden win at a mile and 70 yards last month at the Meadowlands.