Upsets were the order of the day for Saturday's Grand Slam II at Calder Race Course.
Profit Option was the day's biggest surprise, charging from last in the 12-horse field to win the $150,000
W.L. McKnight Handicap by ½ length over Deeliteful Irving. Eltawaasul led most of the way before fading to finish third. The favorite, Honor Glide, never fired and finished 10th. "We got shuffled back a bit early," said winning rider Mark Guidry. "But luckily this old horse rated kindly." Profit Option, a 6-year-old son of Alleged, got the 1 ½ mile on firm turf om 2:27.95. Trainer Kenneth Hoffman said he has had "all kinds of physical problems at one time or another -- a bow, chips. But he can run." Next may be the Mac Diarmida at Gulfstream on Jan. 20.
Krisada also came from off the pace to win the $150,000 La Prevoyante Handicap for fillies and mares in a three-horse photo. Jockey Pat Day saved ground with the 5-year-old daughter of Kris S., came out for running room and won by a neck over Sweetest Thing. Great Fever was third and the favorite, Queue, finished far back in the queue -- seventh. Rob Medina, assistant to trainer Shug McGAughey, who attended the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game Saturday -- said Krisada "hasn't run much this year. That's the difference. That's due to distance. There aren't many opportunities at this distance." He said next up will be The Very One Handicap at Gulfstream on Feb. 17.
Vague Memory battled with favored Gold Mover through most of the 7 furlongs of the $100,000 Chaposa Springs Handicap before winning by a nose. Platinum Tiara was third. Vague Memory, with Julio Garcia aboard, got the 7 furlongs in 1:24.15. "We had the No. 1 hole and my filly doesn't like the dirt hitting her in the face, so I had to send here away from there," said Garcia. It was the first graded stakes win for trainer Ross Wolfendale.
Kiss a Native won the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap, drawing clear in the stretch to beat Hal's Hope by 1 length. Groomstick Stock's was third and the favorite, Best of the Rest, was best of the rest. Kiss a Native, a 4-year-old Kissin Kris gelding, was clocked in 1:51.05. "We're going to be ambitious with him," said winning trainer Bill White, "and point him for the Donn Handicap (Feb. 9) at Gulfstream." Kiss a Native has won 10 of his 18 lifetime starts with earnings of more than $900,000.
Grand Slam II was a commercial success, too. The 12,084 on-track patrons wagered a year's best $1,436,311. The combined mutuel handle was a Calder all-time record $9,461,604.
In other weekend racing:
Affluent scored a minor upset in Saturday's $200,000 La Brea Stakes, opening round of the La Canada Series for fillies who will turn 4 on New Year's Day. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Affirmed dropped back near the rear of the 12-filly field, moved up on the outside and shot to the front in the stretch. At the wire, jockey Eddie Delahoussaye had her in front by 1 ½ lengths over Royally Chosen. Love at Noon was third. The favorite, Above Perfection, held the lead into the stretch but faded and was fifth. Delahoussaye said he didn't want to be as far back as he was but also didn't want to ask his mount too soon. "She just blew by them at the sixteenth pole," he said. Trainer Ron McAnally said he entered Affluent at the last moment because the La Canada series gives her a chance to continue running against her own age group.
On Sunday, Irish Prize won the $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap for the second straight year, beating Sligo Bay in a photo finish. El Gran Papa was third. Irish Prize was bumped at the break, circled the field on the turn and just managed to outfinish Sligo Bay. Winning rider Gary Stevens said he planned to lay just off the leaders. "But I got demolished at the start, so those plans went out the window. I had to improvise." The improvisation was aided by a brisk pace. The final time for 9 furlongs on firm turf was 1:50.56. Trainer Neil Drysdale said he will consider the San Marcos on Jan. 21 for the 5-year-old Irish River gelding.
In Wednesday's $200,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds, Kent Desormeaux got Mizzen Mast to the front leaving the turn and went on to win by 2 ½ lengths over Giant Gentleman. I Love Silver was third while the favorite, Early Flyer, finished eighth of 13 starters. It was the 18th Grade I win of the year for trainer Bobby Frankel and his 49th stakes win of 2001. "Unbelievable," he said. "I guess it was just meant to be." Mizzen Mast, a son of Cozzene, ran 7 furlongs in 1:22.13.
Coyote Lakes seized control in the stretch in Saturday's $100,000 Gallant Fox Handicap, winning by 2 ¾ lengths over Pleasant Divorce. Top Official was third and the favorite, Grundlefoot, was a little slow of foot, finishing sixth after only a mild bid. Coyote Lakes, a 7-year-old gelding by Society Max, completed the 1 5/8 mile in 2:45.77. "It takes about three-eighths of a mile to get him going," said winning rider Mike Luzzi. "But when you're going a mile and five eighths, you've got the time to do that. He's just a tough old horse." Trainer Bruce Levine said he doesn't know where Coyote Lakes will run next. "This is the race we point him for each year. It's a big win." Grundelfoot's rider, Travis Dunkelberger, commented, "It was just too far for him."
In Sunday's $75,000 Alex Robb for state-breds, Sweet Ricky dueled down the stretch with Mount Intrepid before edging clear for the victory. Spectacularspencer was third. Sweet Ricky, a 3-year-old son of Astudillo, was clocked in 1:44.30.
San Pedro took command in the stretch run in Saturday's $75,000 Louisiana Handicap, scoring by 1 ¾ lengths over Remington Rock. The favorite, Valhol, was third. Trainer Spanky Broussard said San Pedro had been hanging in the late going so he added blinkers for Saturday's race. "It made a difference," added winning rider Ray Sibille. The win was San Pedro's fifth in 10 starts and Broussard said he is being pointed to the New Orleans Handicap on March 3.
Sunday, Gold for My Gal took command a furlong out and went on to win the $75,000 Truly Bound Handicap for fillies and mares by ½ length over Instinct. Momentous was third. Scoop, the favorite, dead-heated for sixth with Lady Tamworth. Gold for My Gal, a 4-year-old Gold Alert filly, ran the 1 1/16 mile on a fast track in 1:45.84.
True Sensation found racing room between tiring pace-setter Bronze Abe and closer Dish It to Me and went on to win Saturday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship by 2 ½ lengths. "The race set up perfectly for her," said winning rider Jeremy Rose, the nation's leading apprentice rider, who had four wins on the card. "We just sat kind off the pace, waiting for the horse in front of us to stop." True Sensation finished the 9 furlongs in 1:53.61 and trainer Hamilton Smith said he expects her to be a factor in next year's Maryland-bred filly races.
Sunday, Monk's Falcon seized the lead late in the $60,000 Challedon Stakes and went on to win by 2 lengths. Forty Eight Hours was second and Jorgie Stover third in the state-bred event. Monk's Falcon covered 7 furlongs in 1:24.53.
Interminable Gold rallied from last in a field of nine to win Sunday's $100,000 Riley Allison Futurity by 4 ¼ lengths over Premeditation. Mr Motion was third. Interminable Gold, a Kentucky-bred son of Gilded Time from the Gulch mare Natkeeta, ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.68. Steve Asmussen trains for owner Robert Beck.
Golden Gate Fields
Runaway AB lived up to her name in Saturday's $55,000 Cota Madera Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. The daughter of Runaway Groom sat behind the speed for a half mile, then took over and won off by 7 ½ lengths over My Sand Dollar. The 1 mile on a sloppy track took 1:39.03. "She loved the mud," said winning rider Jose Arriaga. Trainer James Chapman said he will take the Pennsylvania-bred filly back to Southern California "and see what's ahead for her."
Sunday, Steady Rollin stalked the pace and pounced in the stretch to win the $55,000 Sutter Stakes for 2-year-olds by 1 ½ lengths over Mighty David. Steady Rollin, a Kentucky-bred son of Shadeed, ran 6 furlongs in the slop in 1:10.51. Winning rider Russell Baze said his colt didn't like being inside and didn't like the mud being kicked in his face. "But once he got clear in the stretch, he exploded," Baze said.
Both Runaway AB and Steady Rollin are owned by Ronald Parker and trained by Chapman.
Dancing Missile shot to a 3-length lead in Saturday's $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes, then held on to win by ½ length over Personal First. Sold to Wallstreet was third. Dancing Missile, a 3-year-old Canaveral colt trained by Dale Romans, finished the 6 furlongs in 1:12 2/5.
Tampa Bay Downs
Winnie's Pooh Bear shipped down from the snowy north and promptly won Saturday's $50,000 Pelican Stakes. The 3-year-old son of Wheaton dueled with Only You before getting the edge in the final strides to win by a head. Mountain Top was third. The 6 furlongs took 1:11. "This was his second stakes victory," said winning trainer Gerald Bennett. "He won a $40,000 stakes race at Hawthorne and is just a really nice horse." Winnie's Pooh Bear also ran at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan this fall.
Dynatrol roared from near the back of the field, came six-wide into the stretch and still got clear to win Saturday's $30,000 Kachina Handicap by 2 lengths over Gleefully. Balboa Park was third. Dynatrol, a 5-year-old Dynaformer mare, rean 1 mile on a fast track in 1:35 4/5.
Both divisions of Saturday's Texas Stallion Stakes were won on the front end. Gone Off captured the colts and geldings division by 1 length over Fitzroyal. The Secret Claim colt finished the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:19. Quanta, a Walesa filly, drew off by 6 lengths at the top of the lane and then coasted home 1 length to the good of Saucy Viva. Quanta was clocked in 1:20 2/5.