Saturday’s Summit of Speed highlights an outstanding holiday weekend of horse betting, with four graded stakes and over $1 million up for grabs on the 11-race program that gets underway at 12:50 ET.
This is the first year the Summit of Speed has had to go head to head against a racing program at nearby Gulfstream Park, which is racing on weekends this summer for the first time, which is sure to dilute the racing product at both South Florida tracks.
However, the Summit of Speed drew solid fields and all four races are good betting races. The $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) for fillies and mares drew a field of 13, with a dozen to start.
Trainer Martin Wolfson will be the busiest guy in the paddock, saddling five runners in the race, but my top two selections in the race will be saddled by other trainers.
Here is a look at my top two contenders for each of the graded stakes at Calder for Saturday:
The Carry Back G3 (3:32 ET)
R Free Roll takes on the boys again after beating three of these last out winning the Unbridled off a three month layoff, taking the field gate to wire and drawing away to win by 6 3/4 lengths. The barn could have run her at the same distance against her own sex in the Azalea (G3) but this might actually be an easier spot and she does get a break in the weights. She has won three of her five starts over the main track here and two of those wins have come against males. She owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and if she gets away clear from her inside post she is going to be tough to catch here.
Sr. Quisqueyano was the 6-5 chalk last out in the Unbridled and the colt was not much of a threat in a fourth place finish. Two back this guy earned a career top winning the Calder Derby going gate to wire at nine furlongs. He has a couple of good efforts going one turn and came back with a bullet drill over the surface here on June 29. He should be tighter here and has landed in the exacta in seven of eight starts here.
The Azalea G3 (3:59 ET)
Speedinthruthecity is coming into this race off wins against Alw-1 and Alw-2 foes at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs. This gal showed plenty of promise last year running second on poly in the Sorrento (G3) and beaten just a head and a nose when third in the Juvenile Filly Turf going a mile at Del Mar. She looks as if she will be able to handle the cut back to six furlongs and has shown she can run over any type of surface.
Dreaming of Susie went gate to wire to beat Alw-1 foes last out over the Calder main track in her third attempt at the condition after breaking her maiden in her debut. The runner up in the race was Wildcat Lily, who came back to win the Leave Me Alone here on June 8 at 10-1. This filly still appears to have plenty of upside as she makes her stakes debut here and the Kirk Ziadie barn has been just on fire at the meeting, hitting at a 48% clip.
The Smile Sprint Handicap G2 (4:26 ET)
Justin Phillip tracked the early pacesetter while down along a deep rail, angled toward the outside for the stretch drive and could not get to the winner in a runner up finish in the True North (G2) last out at Belmont Park. The five year old won his two previous starts including a sharp win in the Count Fleet ‘Cap (G3) at Oaklawn Park. He comes in here sporting three consecutive triple digit Beyers and owns a solid pace profile throughout. He is going to get a solid early pace to track in this spot.
Fort Loudon stalked the early pace and did not fire in the stretch in the Met Mile (G1), weakening to finish sixth. The colt has lost three in a row but the cut back to six furlongs will suit as will returning to Calder where he has won seven of his 10 starts here. He won the Carry Back (G3) here last year with a career top speed fig.
The Princess Rooney G1 (4:53 ET)
Sweet Cassiopeia has won on turf, dirt, and the fake stuff and now makes just her second career start on conventional dirt. Her lone start on dirt was a win in the West Virginia Secretary of State at Mountaineer Park last summer at six furlongs. She is a three time winner on turf and a five time winner over synthetic surfaces. Her last win came three back at Keeneland in the Giant’s Causeway going five furlongs on turf. She just has one breeze over the main track here and comes into the race with a good tune up in a runner up finish against non-conditioned allowance foes where she could not get to the talented Good Deed, who is a multiple stakes winner. Decent value if this gal goes off near her 8-1 morning line.
Judy the Beauty has labeled in the exacta in all nine of her career start, last out a runner up finish in the Winning Colors (G3) at Churchill Downs. She missed winning the Prioress (G1) last summer at the Spa in a photo to Emma’s Encore and also ran second in the Gallant Bloom (G2). These do not look as tough as what she faced in New York and she fits here with her best. She popped a bullet work on the morning tab at Keeneland on June 25. She looks primed for a top effort here third off the bench for the Wesley Ward barn but her price may end up a bit on the light side.
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