06/11/2008 11:00PM

Ziadie holds a stacked hand


MIAMI - Trainer Kirk Ziadie said it would be nice if he could win "at least one" of the four $100,000 stakes races that highlights Saturday's Summit of Speed Preview card at Calder.

Just one?

Ziadie appears to have the upper hand in three of the four six-furlong sprint stakes on Saturday, all of which serve as preps for Calder's marquee event, the rich Summit of Speed program on July 12. The reigning training champion at both the Calder and Tropical at Calder meets, Ziadie will send out highweights Blue Pepsi Lodge and Paradise Dancer in the Ponche Handicap, highweight and likely favorite Rgirldoesn'tbluff in the U Can Do It Handicap, as well as key contenders R Salty Vet and Sadie's Time in the Leave Me Alone Stakes.

Ziadie's arsenal of sprint specialists share top billing Saturday with Golden Spikes, a one-time Triple Crown hopeful who turns back to six furlongs as the prohibitive favorite in the Unbridled Stakes.

The Ponche has drawn the strongest and most competitive field on the Preview card, topped by Ziadie's uncoupled pair of Blue Pepsi Lodge and Paradise Dancer, who between them have won 21 races at Calder. They will be joined by such top-class locally based sprinters as Finallymadeit, Yesbyjimminy, and Weigelia.

Blue Pepsi Lodge has won his last six starts on dirt, dating back to Dec, 2, including the 5 1/2-furlong Champali Stakes on May 17. Claimed for $25,000 last October, Blue Pepsi Lodge was assigned 124 pounds for the Ponche.

"I didn't expect 124 since he's not a graded winner, but he's doing very well and should run his race," said Ziadie. "He's a free-running horse who runs on the lead, and we're not going to change our style on Saturday."

Paradise Dancer, who will carry 122 pounds, provides a nice contrast to Blue Pepsi Lodge, since he does his best from just off the pace. The 8-year-old Paradise Dancer has had his races well spaced of late. He won the Go to Will Stakes in October returning from a three-month layoff, and the Grade 3 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap off a two-month break in his 2007 finale. The Ponche will mark his first start since Feb. 9.

"I try not to abuse the old horse," said Ziadie. "He's doing well but the four-month layoff could take its toll in the final furlong."

Blue Pepsi Lodge could get an early challenge for the lead from Finallymadeit, who will break from the rail, and Weigelia, who begins on the outside. Like Ziadie's duo, both horses are quite fond of the local strip. Finallymadeit has won 9 of his 17 starts at Calder and Weigelia 8 of 19 tries here, including the Grade 3 Carry Back at 3. Weigelia will add blinkers on Saturday.

Yesbyjimminy, himself a five-time winner over his home course of Calder, figures to improve off his second-place finish in the Champali, when he lost his best chance after he was taken up near the half-mile pole.

Rgirldoesn'tbluff may give Ziadie his best chance at a stakes win Saturday when she defends her title in the U Can Do it. The speedy Rgirldoesn'tbluff won a pair of stakes after returning to Ziadie's barn last fall but has been lightly raced this season. She did finish second behind the imposing Sugar Swirl in Gulfstream Park's Grade 3 First Lady Handicap in her 2008 debut on Jan. 13.

"She's training dynamite, and like Blue Pepsi Lodge she's nothing but speed," Ziadie said of Rgirldoesn'tbluff. "That's her game."

Should Rgirldoesn'tbluff falter on the lead, Dixie Dreamer could pick up the pieces after sandwiching a pair of easy allowance wins around a fifth-place finish behind Sugar Swirl in Gulfstream's Grade 2 Shirley Jones Handicap.

In the Leave Me Alone, Ziadie is hoping R Salty Vet will rebound from a fourth-place finish as the favorite in the Harmony Lodge Stakes and expects Sadie's Time to handle the big jump into stakes company off an easy debut win against mid-priced maiden claimers.

"I think Sadie's Time will run an impressive race," said Ziadie. "She's a gorgeous filly and really coming around to herself. Winning that first start was a real confidence booster for her."

Orinoquia, easy winner of the Harmony Lodge, and Freedom Afleet should provide the Ziadie duo with their stiffest opposition in the Leave Me Alone.

Golden Spikes returns home for the first time since posting an easy allowance win in his last start at 2. A son of Seeking the Gold, Golden Spikes held his own against Grade 2 competition in each of his last three starts, all at 1 1/8 miles, a string of good efforts that includes a second- place finish in the Illinois Derby.

"I'm a little concerned about the distance," said Golden Spikes's trainer, Marty Wolfson. "I believe he's better going seven furlongs to a mile, but I think his class should carry him in this spot."

Successful Love, runaway winner of the Naked Greed Stakes early in the meet, and the speedy Brooks'n Down, a distant second that day, are also contenders.