By Jude “Pontiff of the Pick Four” Feld
7th Race – $100,000 Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint
This race is named in honor of the late, great racing secretary who came up with the idea for the “Summit of Speed.” Bob Umphrey was a magnificent human being and a good friend to many in racing. UNO CALIENTE has run twice at today’s five furlong distance on the turf and those two races are his best. He exits a wire-to-wire victory at Calder on May 12 and has posted two bullet workouts in the interim to indicate his fitness and sharpness. Jockey Manny Cruz only enhances his chances. DETERMINATO was second to the top choice on the grass two races back, but didn’t run as well on the dirt in his last start. He is already a stakes winner and is also training well for this race. TALE OF A CHAMPION has never run this short. He is undefeated on the turf and should be flying in the drive. He is a must-use in all trifecta and superfecta wagers.
8th Race – $150,000 Carry Back (G3)
On paper, this looks like a two-horse race. TRINNIBERG was super-impressive winning the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park in his last start. He earned a massive 106 Beyer speed figure with that performance and could even “bounce” and win this. He is cross-entered in the Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) which has a $400,000 purse but is a much tougher spot. It will be interesting to see which way the Parboos decide to go. FORT LOUDON has won back-to-back sprints since his ill-advised run in the Florida Derby (G1). He likes to win races and continues his steady improvement. If TRINNIBERG opts out, the son of Awesome of Course looks like the cinch of the day.
9th Race – $150,000 Azalea (G3)
There are some pretty quick fillies in this race. CITIZEN ADVOCATE has shown the ability to rate a tad and that might serve her well in here. It is fairly significant that jockey Cornelio Velasquez takes the call on her as the other contenders are being ridden by jockeys who don’t enjoy national prominence. ANOTHER ROMANCE is the closer to fear. She will be flying late and has beaten many of these before. EXCLUSIVELY MARIA showed brilliant speed as two-year-old. She makes her three-year-old debut off a string of sparkling morning drills and runs for a barn that does very well with their fresh runners.
10th Race – $400,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2)
Three-year-olds who give weight to older horses are generally a bad wagering proposition. TRINNIBERG must shoulder 118 pounds in this spot versus his elders. He is a colt of tremendous talent but is susceptible to a bounce off his last-race 106 Beyer speed figure and relatively quick return. He is a hard horse to leave off your tickets, but at his anticipated short price, he really is a horrible bet in here. FIELD COMMISSION is another “bounce” candidate after posting a lifetime high Beyer off an 18-month layoff. He will draw significant wagering as well. INDIANO looks like the horse to bet. He is undefeated at Calder and favorably weighted in this context. The son of Indian Charlie figures to get a nice trip too.
11th Race – $400,000 Princess Rooney (G1)
This race could boil down to the old axiom: “Grade 1 horses win Grade 1 races.” MUSICAL ROMANCE is the lone Grade 1 winner in the field and the mare to beat. She was last year’s female sprint champion and looks to enhance her black-type laden catalog page here. Her second-place finish to the red-hot Groupie Doll in the Humana Distaff (G1) was no disgrace and the Bill Kaplan trainee has always been fond of Calder. Her stablemate, WILD BOUT TIFFANY may be the biggest foe she will face this afternoon. She is an improving filly who has also shown a fondness for the track. The daughter of Wildcat Heir has a versatile running style and a nice outside draw. LEOPARD ROCK may be a big price but she is the most likely upsetter. The daughter of Speightstown ran well in her first start for ultra-sharp trainer Marty Wolfson and should move forward off that effort.
12th Race – $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat
With a record of three wins in six starts on the turf at Calder, it seems strange that CALLMETHESQUEEZE has been running on the dirt. True, one of those dirt starts came when it rained and the race was taken off the grass, but what happened to the scratch cards? Back on the sod this afternoon and reunited with her favorite rider, J.L. Alvarez, look for major improvement from the Manny Azpurua trainee at a nice price.
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