October 1, 2012
The 2012 renewal of the Summit of Speed, affectionately known as the SOS because that’s the distress signal the purse pool’s overnights give off after these stakes are run, consisted of stakes races totaling $1.3 million, up $250,000 from the 2011 edition of the SOS. That’s the bad news. The good news is that Calder horsemen won all but one of the six races, winning an impressive $922,160 of the total stakes purses, or almost 71 per cent of the total stakes purses.
Last year twelve horses shipped in for the Summit of Speed and were opposed by fifteen local horses in the four stakes. This year in the six stakes, thirty-nine local horses were confronted by only twelve shippers that were new to the Calder backside this year. Last year’s races were run on a sloppy track that was upgraded to good before the end of the card while this year the weather was sunny and the track fast for the entire card.
The Summit began with FHBPA Board of Director, Chester Bishop’s Tale of a Champion taking the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Sprint at five furlongs on the grass. The winning trainer was Chris Gatis, also a part owner of Tale of a Champion. FHBPA Vice President Larry Pilotti’s Determinato owned by Ron Marano ran third, narrowly beaten for second by Mike Yates trained Tripski owened by Shadybrook Farm and William Lussky. A shipper from Churchill Downs ran eighth in the nine horse field.
Next up was the Carry Back a $150,000 Grade lll Stake contested at six furlongs. Jacks or Better Farm’s Fort Loudon, trained by Stan Gold got up after a long stretch duel to edge Trinniberg a former Calder horse who had just easily won the Grade ll Woody Stephens at Belmont in his last start. FHBPA Vice President/ Treasurer, Barry Rose was fourth in this race with Rose Family Stable’s Rex’s Last Tour.
The $150,000 Grade lll Azalea, also run at six furlongs, was won by FHBPA Secretary, Bill Kaplan who trained Another Romance to an almost two length victory for Lewis Pell, Michael Eigner and Pinnacle Racing Stable. Citizen Advocate and Redbud Road were second and third and two shippers from Monmouth finished fifth and sixth in the nine horse field.
The shippers luck changed in the six furlong, $400,000 Grade ll Smile Handicap as Churchill Downs shipper, Gantry, trained by Ron Faucheux easily beat the three Calder horses, Indiano, Close It Out and Artefacto who were in the three horse photo for second. Gantry has now won four of the five stakes he has participated in this year, finishing third in the Grade ll Churchill Downs Stake in his last start.
In the six furlong, $400,000 Grade l Princess Rooney Handicap, the Queen of Calder, Musical Romance, bested Nicole H who had just lost the Grade ll Vagrancy at Belmont by a neck in her last start. Musical Romance won the Breeder’s Cup and the Eclipse Award last year among her many accomplishments. Musical Romance put trainer Bill Kaplan back in the winner’s circle again along again with Pinnacle Racing Stable’s Adam Lazarus who is a Director on the FHBPA Board. Kaplan also is a part owner in Musical Romance.
The Summit of Speed concluded with the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat contested at seven and a half furlongs on the grass. Trainer Manny Azpurua easily won this race by six lengths with Gary Aiken’s Callmethesqueeze as Brinca, Trip for A. J. and Catch That Kitten finished in a photo for second.
In the last three years, the home team Calder horses have won 83%, 62% and 71% of the stakes purses offered. Financially this is a big day for Calder, but management basically didn’t even see fit to advertise this event to the public. I have heard a lot of horsemen openly question how can we support a bunch of million dollar stakes days with the level of overnights currently being paid at Calder? It’s a legitimate question.
October 1, 2012