07/11/2007 11:00PM

Villainage back for turf stakes


MIAMI - Three-year-olds will be in the spotlight at Calder on Saturday, beginning with the $50,000 Donthelumbertrader Stakes and ending with an appearance by Triple Crown performer Imawildandcrazyguy in a second-level allowance race.

The Donthelumbertrader is scheduled for 7 1/2 furlongs on the grass, although turf racing has been almost nonexistent here over the past month because of heavy rain. The overnight stakes will feature the second start of the season by Villainage, who opened his 3-year-old campaign by easily defeating older allowance competition going a mile on June 25. He won by 4 3/4 lengths despite having to take up awaiting clearance on the final turn.

Villainage, among the top juveniles on the grounds in 2006, was idle for more than six months before that win, which was the first for Villainage since he captured the B L's Sweep Stakes here one year earlier.

Although much more accomplished on dirt, Villainage did show promise in his only start on grass, finishing a late-running second behind the graded stakes winner Soldier's Dancer in the Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf here in November.

Villainage is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., who has a potent one-two punch in the Donthelumbertrader, with Fearless Eagle also in the lineup. Fearless Eagle stepped on turf for the first time three weeks ago and registered a shocking half-length decision over Sparkling Notion to capture the Lord Juban Stakes at 48-1. He and Villainage will be uncoupled in the wagering should both start.

Among the other key contenders in the Donthelumbertrader are Sparkling Notion, the speedy Dippi Trippi, Later Gater, and Voorhee's Ballad.

A break from the classics

After finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby and a troubled sixth in the Belmont Stakes, Imawildandcrazyguy will receive significant class relief, dropping into a second-level allowance race on Saturday. Imawildandcrazy has not faced allowance opposition or raced over his home course at Calder since he registered a 10-length victory in his 2-year-old finale on Dec. 10.

"He's trained extremely well since returning from the Belmont," said Bill Kaplan, who trains Imawildandcrazyguy for owners Lewis Pell and Michael Eigner. "After facing the competition he's met thus far this year, I thought it would be a good idea to give him an easier race and let him get his confidence back."

Though the horse is a long-distance specialist, Kaplan said he has no problem turning Imawildandcrazyguy back to a mile on Saturday.

"I wanted to find a race that will let me get a little speed into him," said Kaplan.

How Sweet He Is, briefly on the Triple Crown trail himself following a pair of allowance wins in New York during the winter, has not started since finishing eighth behind Cowtown Cat in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Gotham on March 10. Trained by Tim Ritvo, How Sweet He Is has worked steadily since returning to south Florida earlier this spring, and enters Saturday's co-feature off a pair of bullet five-furlong works.

Dukes Flying Tiger, runner-up to Villainage under similar conditions on June 25, is also part of a field that includes Bridled Quest, Minidrop, and Legacy Reserve.