Summit of Success for Calder Horsemen
August 12, 2010
By Kent H. Stirling, FHBPA Executive Director
On July 10th, Calder again held the 1.35 million dollar Summit of Speed (or the “SOS”). The Summit of Speed consisted of seven sprint races of six furlongs or less comprised of one Grade 1, two Grade II’s and one Grade III stake races. In the past, Calder horsemen for the most part believed the acronym SOS stood not only Save Our Ship or Save Our Souls but more to the point Subsidize Our Shippers or Steal Our Shekels.
Happily this year the acronym SOS stood for something closer to Slam Our Shippers or Skunk Our Strangers as Calder horsemen won 83% of the stakes monies paid out or close to 1.1 million dollars in stakes earnings.
The only win by an invader was in the $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint by Mike Dubb whose favorite, Tahoe Warrior scored by close to three lengths. The Umphrey, named in memory of the long time Calder Racing Secretary, was the first stake of the day and probably had Calder horsemen bracing themselves for more dominance to come from the out-of-towners.
If just never happened. The Shippers had won their only race.
In the next two stakes Calder Trainers, Stan Gold and Dave Fawkes, registered victories for the home team. Fawkes unleashed Big Drama’s little brother, appropriately named Little Drama, who won the Frank Gomez Memorial by 10 widening lengths as if showing off for his big brother who was to run later.
The Grade III Azeala saw Joe Calascibetta’s Pica Slew driving clear by two lengths over co-favorites trained by Eddie Kenneally and Bob Baffert.
The Grade II Carry Back was expected to be a successful homecoming for Calder graduate, D’Funnybone who went off at 1-10, but was run down late by Coffee Boy from the powerful Marty Wolfson stable.
In the Grade II Smile Sprint, Big Drama, older brother of Little Drama, bested Phil Gleaves’ Mambo Meister by 1 ½ lengths for David Fawkes, In the wake of these Calder horses were horses trained by Kiran McLaughlin, Bill Mott, Mike Trombetta, Rick Dutrow and Todd Pletcher.
The Grade I Princess Rooney ended the parade of seven consecutive stakes races with yet another winner for Wolfson to tie him with Fawkes with two stakes wins on the day. Jessica is Back got up to win going away by 2 lengths in the Princess Rooney at almost 9-1, the longest odds of any stakes winner. In her wake were four horses trained by Eddie Kenneally, Bret Calhoun, Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher that all went off at odds of 5-1 or less.
Calder’s top purses may not rank with the best, but their horses certainly do.