06/23/2010 11:00PM

Two from Lord Juban regrouping


MIAMI - What do Omar's Tiger and Sky Venture have in common? Both horses showed speed and faded late behind the graded stakes winner Bim Bam earlier this month in the Lord Juban Stakes and both will return on Saturday's card at Calder in much softer allowance spots.

Omar's Tiger opened a seven-length lead and was still well clear leaving the eighth pole in the one-mile Lord Juban before fading to finish fifth in his stakes debut. An improving son of Hold That Tiger, he had set a similarly crisp pace and was good enough to hold on to defeat mid-level maiden claimers to earn his diploma making his turf debut three weeks earlier.

Omar's Tiger will shorten up to 7 1/2 furlongs for Saturday's co-featured 10th race in which he will take on older horses under first-level allowance conditions. The field is loaded with speed and also includes the undefeated He's Alright, who registered a three-length victory launching his career under a $25,000 claiming tag over the main track on May 22.

Sky Venture attended Omar's Tiger's pace in the Lord Juban but had little left himself once leaving the eighth pole to finish seventh of eight. He was trying stakes company for the first time in eight career starts. Trainer Cecil Paul will turn Sky Venture back to 6 1/2 furlongs and put him back on the main track when he faces five other 3-year-olds in Saturday's 11th race.

Sky Venture, who blew out a fast three-eighths in 35.19 seconds here last weekend, takes on a good group that includes the speedy Double Judge, who was caught in the final stride by the stakes winner Lord Robyn under tougher optional claiming conditions on June 11. Other key contenders in the co-feature include Smart Kiddo and Easy Aces.

First Passage works for Rooney

First Passage, winner of the 2009 Azalea and the top local hopeful for the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 10, worked four furlongs in 49.88 seconds for trainer Marty Wolfson on Thursday morning. First Passage, who completed her final quarter-mile in a crisp 23.21 seconds during the work, registered her first victory since the Azalea when capturing the U Can Do It Handicap on June 12.

Nominations for the Princess Rooney, the only Grade 1 race on the local schedule, and all of the other graded stakes on the Summit of Speed program will close Saturday.

◗ Jockey Manoel Cruz returns Saturday after serving out a three-day suspension that began last Sunday and carried over through Friday's card. Cruz was suspended for careless riding aboard Don'ttalktome, who finished third after weaving in and out to impede Indy's Alexandra through midstretch of the U Can Do It. Even though her jockey received a suspension for the ride, Don'ttalktome was not disqualified.