12/06/2008 12:00AM

Wild Promises keeps winning

Jim Lisa
Wild Promises (right), with Aaron Gryder up, cuts the corner on her way to a one-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.

MIAMI - When trainer Greg Gilchrist makes the long trip from his northern California base to Calder Race Course with one of his horses, he's not coming for the stone crabs or a night on South Beach. He comes to win.

Gilchrist, who is based at Golden Gate Fields, notched his fifth victory in just eight starts at Calder when Wild Promises posted a front-running one-length victory over Callwood Dancer in Saturday's $100,000 My Charmer Handicap. Rutherienne finished another neck further back as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade 3 race for fillies and mares.

Gilchrist's first four Calder winners also came in stakes races, including Lost in the Fog in the 2005 Carry Back and Indyanne earlier this year in the Grade 3 Azalea.

The My Charmer marked Wild Promises's fifth straight stakes win. It was her first start against graded competition and only her second outside of northern California. The 4-year-old daughter of Wild Event was allowed to set a comfortable pace under jockey Aaron Gryder, briefly relinquished her lead approaching the quarter pole, regained command entering the stretch then after surging clear withstood both Callwood Dancer and Rutherienne.

Wild Promises ($12.60), who is owned by the estate of the late Harry Aleo, covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.78 over a firm course. Her time was .63 of a second faster than Spice Route's final clocking in the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap later on the card.

"I guess you can say Calder has always been good to me," Gilchrist said. "We've always protected this filly pretty good, keeping her at home. I didn't want to step out of town for a graded stakes like this unless we were going to be contentious in the race."

Gilchrist said he'll likely bring Wild Promises back to south Florida for Gulfstream Park's $500,000 Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf on Jan. 24.

Rutherienne has now finished third in six consecutive graded stakes.

"The pace was a little slow, but I thought she ran well," trainer Christophe Clement said.

Tropical Turf: Spice Route wins head bob

Spice Route won a head bob from even-money favorite Soldier's Dancer to capture one of the most exciting editions in the 32-year history of the Grade 3, $100,000 Tropical Turf.

Spice Route ($8), a son of King's Best, swung four wide turning for home under Javier Castelleano, got his nose in front inside the sixteenth pole, and had it down at the wire to capture the narrowest of victories. Soldier's Dancer, who raced near the rear of the pack for nearly seven furlongs, gained a very slight advantage from Spice Route approaching the wire before dropping a heartbreaking decision. A.P. Magic, a 62-1 chance, outlasted two-time defending Tropical Turf champion Ballast to finish third.

Spice Route is trained by Roger Attfield for Harlequin Ranches. Attfield also sent out Callwood Dancer who was second in the My Charmer.

"From where I was watching, I couldn't tell if he won it or not," Attfield said. "He was turning back in distance, but I wasn't concerned. I always thought he could be a good miler."