Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Gulfstream carryover nearing $3 million . . .

    Pick 6 players who have the determination and a bankroll to match have a chance for life-changing opportunities today and tomorrow at Belmont Park, Gulfstream Park and Churchill Downs.

    At Belmont today, the Pick 6 carryover stands at $500,311, and that's a regular pool, not a Rainbow.

    Tomorrow, there are two lucrative Rainbows, the big one of $2,873,391 at Gulfstream and $294,725 at Churchill.

Monday, June 24, 2019
Major event coming up this weekend . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH, Fl - There has never been a shortage of searing heat in South Florida summers. At one time, though, sizzle was lacking. At least when it came to summer racing. No track understood that better at one time than Calder Race Course, which once held the summer dates for decades.

     “It was kind of dead,” said former Calder Race Course president Ken Dunn. “We were isolated. We were racing with what we had. Nobody was shipping in to sweat.”

     While the track enjoyed a strong reputation as a launching pad for future racing stars — from Kentucky Derby winners Spend A Buck and Lil E. Tee to divisional champions Smile and Princess Rooney — it lacked the kind of signature event that would bring it national recognition, one that would turn it into a drawing card for the country’s top horses, trainers and jockeys.

     That all changed in 2000 when Calder launched the “Summit of Speed,” a one-day program devoted exclusively to high-octane sprinters racing for eye-popping purses. It proved to be a stroke of genius, an instant hit that has endured to this day.

     After the Summit of Speed was cancelled in 2014 while racing dates in South Florida were realigned, Gulfstream picked up the five stakes races and will once again host one of Florida’s biggest days of summer racing Saturday featuring the $250,000 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win & You’re In’ Princess Rooney (G2) and $250,000 Smile Sprint (G3).

     “It’s become a big day for us,” said Gulfstream General Manager Bill Badgett. “Our program on Summit of Speed Day has been incredibly strong and the events surrounding it have only grown over the past five years. We’re looking forward to a big day.”

     The Summit of Speed was launched through the collective efforts of three of Calder’s former officials: Dunn, head of marketing Mike Cronin, and its racing secretary, the late Bob Umphrey. Together, they brought national attention and respect to a “little old country track” that went largely unnoticed in the summer.

     “It put us in the limelight,” said David Fawkes, whose horses have enjoyed success in the Summit of Speed.

     Dunn said Calder officials had looked for a summer spark for years, something before the Florida Stallion Stakes (now FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes) in August and before northern trainers began shipping their horses south to spice up the fall and winter racing seasons.

     “I wanted to do something to get a little interest at the beginning of the meet,” Dunn said.

     They tried something called “June Jam,” a one-day program of stakes that met with mild success, but nothing on the grand scale South Florida officials were longing for.

     “We started looking around the country and looked for a category that wasn’t filled,” Dunn said.

     In their quest to create a unique event, they ruled out races restricted to 3-year-olds (the Triple Crown erased that prospect) or turf specialists (the summer rainy season in South Florida made that a gamble). Major races already existed elsewhere for older, handicap horses.

     Ultimately, they settled on sprinters. And to help pull it off, they gambled big, offering $1 million in total purses, an unthinkable amount of money for a track was that was accustomed to carding $50,000 weekend stakes during the summer.

     Cronin came up with the name: Summit of Speed.

     “We had a little bit of an issue initially convincing the local horsemen,” Dunn said. “We were taking all this money that they would have rather seen spread out in $50s and $75s,” Dunn said. “There was a battle, initially. But we convinced them that, ultimately, it would be to their benefit. Ultimately, it would be beneficial to them if we were successful.”

     Recalled Fawkes: “I remember all the grumbling about the out-of-towners coming in for all that purse money. I would go to the HBPA (office) in the morning and some of the guys were disappointed. But, at the same time, it gave us an opportunity.”

     Money alone, though, wasn’t enough to convince national trainers to send their top horses all the way to South Florida — far off the beaten racing path in the summer months — for a crack at riches.

     Because of its deep and tiring racing surface, Calder had to overcome its reputation as a track that put first-time runners — horses not used to such going — at a disadvantage. There was also the formidable obstacle of the shipping expense required to transport horses to Calder from distant points.

     Calder waged an aggressive recruiting effort to convince out-of-town trainers that it was worth the effort. Umphrey and Dunn made pilgramages to California, New York and elsewhere to pitch their plan to horsemen in person. They also offered to pay shipping expenses.

     D. Wayne Lukas was one trainer, among many, who had reservations after being approached.

     “The one thing about it is they were offering big purses,” Lukas said. “They were very appealing. At the time, we didn’t have a lot of pure sprint stakes to choose from. But the heat factor was a little bit of a concern.”

     In the end, Calder succeeded. The horses and jockeys came. And they won. Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day rode two winners for trainer Bernie Flint — Hurricane Bertie and Swept Away — in the inaugural running on July 15, 2000, and the track set a one-day handle record.

     Over time, Lukas, Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, Mark Hennig, Steve Asmussen and Dale Romans — among others — sent sprinters to Calder that landed in the winner’s circle. Day, Jerry Bailey, Mike Smith, Russell Baze, Jorge Chavez, Edgar Prado, Kent Desormeaux and Corey Nakatani were among the host of nationally acclaimed jockeys who flew down to ride.

     Local trainers, despite their initial reservations, also came out ahead. Dunn calculated that, at one time, more than 50 percent of all purse money that was awarded ended up going to horsemen stabled at Calder. This year, more South Florida-based trainers will compete in the Princess Rooney (G2) and Smile (G3) than ever before.

     Summit winners such as Lost in the Fog, Orientate, Benny the Bull and Big Drama went on to capture the year-end Eclipse Award as the nation’s champion sprinter.

     Summit of Speed stakes were accorded Graded-stakes status — the best of the best — and the Princess Rooney has become a ‘Win & You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup event.

     “Nobody, when we started this, would have ever thought there would be a (graded stakes) at Calder in the middle of the summer,” Dunn said. “We got national exposure. Even the first year, it did what we wanted it to do — generate some excitement when there wasn’t any.”

     And that continues 19 years later.

Thursday, June 20, 2019
Consolations pay $84,316 . . .

    HALLANDALE BEACH - The 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover jackpot ballooned to $2,616,516 for Friday’s twilight card when the multi-race wager went unsolved today for the 49th consecutive program. First-race post time for Friday’s nine-race program is set for 2:15 p.m.

    Tickets will all six winners today were each worth $84,316.34. A total of $301,185 was bet into the pool, when wagering on the six-race sequence started with a carryover of $2,544,245 from Sunday’s program.

    There will also be a Super Hi-5 carryover of $7,420.61 heading into Friday’s program.


    Emisael Jaramillo rode three winners on the program to climb to within six wins behind leading jockey Edgard Zayas with seven racing days remaining in the Spring Meet. Jaramillo, Venezuela’s all-time leading jockey in wins, scored three straight victories aboard Una Luna ($5.40) in Race 5, Amardine ($4.60) in Race 6 and Hardened ($12.60) in Race 7.

    Zayas notched one victory aboard Slingin Sammy B ($6) in Race

Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Best sprinters converge for $1 million in purses . . .
    HALLANDALE BEACH - The Summit of Speed, Gulfstream’s $1 million day featuring the best sprinters in North America, will also feature some of the fastest and most prestigious automobiles in the world, as well as an exclusive VIP Experience in the elegant Flamingo Room overlooking the track.

    The $14 million Supercar Showcase will feature automobiles from Prestige Imports, including the Pagani and Lamborghini, plus two official NASCAR vehicles from Homestead-Miami Speedway. The automobiles will be parked around Gulfstream’s signature walking ring, north valet, and at the North Tent along the track.           

    The Summit of Speed features five stakes races including the $250,000, Gr. II Princess Rooney, a ‘Win & You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

    Doors open at 10 a.m. The first of 14 races will be 11:30 a.m.

    Along with fast cars and fast horses, Gulfstream will offer guests the Prestige Imports Performance Lounge, an Exclusive VIP Experience in the elegant Flamingo Room overlooking the track, between 2-7 p.m. The Prestige Imports Performance Lounge will include an open bar, passed hors d’oeuvres and food stations, live music and front-row seats to the races for $95. Prestige guests will also have a VIP parking area and a chance to win a complimentary VIP Suite for up to 10 people with a $500 food and beverage credit.

    The Summit of Speed has hosted a number of champions, including Musical Romance, Orientate, Lost in the Fog, Benny the Bull and Big Drama.
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Sells for $900,000 . . .

    Hip No. 748, a daughter of Into Mischief consigned by Top Line Sales LLC, Agent, went to OXO Equine LLC for a sale record $900,000 to top the third and final session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2019 June Sale of Two-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age. The bay filly, who turned in a quarter in :20 4/5 at Saturday’s Under Tack session, is a full sister to Gr. I stakes-placed Rowayton out of Rosemonde, by Indian Charlie. The price surpassed the previous record of $800,000 for a colt by City Zip in 2016.

    Hip No. 914, a daughter of Ghostzapper consigned by Gayle Woods, Agent for Eric A. Delvalle, was sold to Donato Lanni, Agent for Stetson Racing LLC, for $600,000. The bay filly, whose three eighths on Sunday in :32 3/5 was the sale’s co-fastest at the distance, is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Come Dancing out of graded stakes-winner Tizahit, by Tiznow.

    Nick J. Hines, Agent for Howg/BG Stable/Big Tufff, paid $325,000 for Hip No. 782, a son of Into Mischief consigned by Halcyon Hammock Farm, Agent. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed a quarter in :21 1/5 on Saturday, is out of graded stakes-placed Sea Level Drive, by Malibu Moon, a half-sister to stakes-placed Cascade Rose.

    Hip No. 721, Sunset Kitten, a daughter of Kitten’s Joy consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was sold to Belladonna Racing LLC for $290,000. The dark bay or brown filly, who worked a quarter on Saturday in :21 2/5, is a full sister to Gr. I stakes-winner Real Solution out of Reachfortheheavens, by Pulpit.

    Hip No. 947, a son of Speightstown consigned by Eddie Woods, Agent, was purchased by David Ingordo for $180,000. The dark bay or brown colt, who breezed a quarter on Sunday in :21 2/5, is a half-brother to Gr. I stakes- winning millionaire and OBS graduate Stephanie’s Kitten out of Unfold the Rose, by Catienus.

    Emerald Sales, Agent, went to $160,000 for Hip No. 869, Dontletsweetfoolya, a bay filly by Stay Thirsty consigned by Hemingway Racing and Training Stables LLC, Agent. Out of Stunning Electra, by Catienus, from the family of  Gr. I stakes-winner Astrious, she breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Sunday.

    Hip No. 724, a daughter of Conveyance consigned by Wavertree Stables, Inc. (Ciaran Dunne), Agent, went to Rockingham Ranch for $150,000. The gray or roan filly, who breezed a quarter on Saturday in :20 4/5, is out of stakes- placed Rebecca’s Surprise, by Marino Marini, from the family of graded stakes-placed stakes-winner Monica Faye.

    Hip No. 995, Hard Times, a bay colt by Khozan consigned by Journeyman Bloodstock Services, Inc. (Brent & Crystal Fernung), Agent, went to Tommy Fackler, Agent, for $150,000. Out of Wontoo, by Montbrook, from the family of Gr. I winner Elmhurst, he worked an eighth on Sunday in :10 flat.

    Hip No. 1051, a son of Shackleford consigned by Pick View LLC, was sold to EQB, Inc., Patrice Miller, Agent, for $145,000. The bay colt, who breezed a quarter on Sunday in :21 1/5, is a half-brother to graded stakes-placed stakes- winner Safe Trip out of Teruko, by Coronado’s Quest.

    Ben Perkins, Jr., Agent, went to $140,000 for Hip No. 949, a daughter of Khozan consigned by Paul Sharp, Agent.  The bay filly, who breezed an eighth in :10 flat on Sunday, is out of Unwooed, by Dixie Union, a half-sister to graded stakes-winning OBS graduate Voice of Destiny.

    Hip No. 865, a son of New Year’s Day consigned by Parrish Farms, Agent, was sold to K.O.I.D. Co., Ltd. for $130,000. The chestnut colt, who worked a quarter in :21 flat on Sunday, is a half-brother to graded stakes-winner Stormy Embrace out of Stormy Allure, by Stormy Atlantic.

    For the session, 183 horses sold for $7,426,100, compared with 183 selling for $5,824,500 at last year’s third session. The average was $40,580, up 27.5% compared with $31,828 a year ago, while the median price rose 30.8% to $17,000, compared to $13,000 in 2018.  The buyback percentage was 17.2%; it was 22.8% last year.

    Nine older horses sold for $69,200 compared to five bringing a total of $96,500 in 2018.

    For the entire sale, 609 2-year-olds sold for $21,493,300 compared with 530 horses grossing $17,231,000 a year ago. The average was $35,293, up 8.6% compared to $32,511 a year ago, while the median price was $17,000, up 13.3% compared with $15,000 in 2018. The buyback percentage was 19.4%; it was 20.3% last year.