What started off as a bad day for trainer William Kaplan, who was hospitalized this morning due to dehydration, eventually turned into a good day by the end of the card. His two Romances, Another Romance and Musical Romance, gave him a clean sweep of the graded stakes races for the ladies on the Summit of Speed card at Calder Race Course. Another Romance with Luca Panici started things off on a good note when she closed from the back of the field to win the G3 Azalea by 1 3/4 lengths. She stopped the clock in 1.12:02, and today's win extended her streak to three. Despite having 15 races under her belt, the 3-year old Saint Anddan filly just broke her maiden in her 11th start back in April. Since then, she has earned the winner's share in two stakes races. Musical Romance under Juan Leyva continued Kaplan's turnaround day when she denied Nicole H the victory and held on to win the G1 Princess Rooney by half a length. After losing last year's edition by a neck to Sassy Image, you can imagine that today's victory was made even sweeter by a little revenge, even though Sassy Image did not start in today's race. The winning time for the Princess Rooney was 1.10:92.
Bisnath Parboo made the decision this morning to run Trinniberg in the G3 Carry Back rather than in the G2 Smile Handicap, a decision I am sure he must be second guessing right about now. Despite the lower graded status of the Carry Back, Trinniberg was up against a wall facing the Calder monster, Fort Loudon. As expected, Trinniberg went straight out to take the early lead, and Fort Loudon raced along outside him prompting the pace the entire way. It looked like Trinniberg would pull off the win, but Fort Loudon dug deep and got up for the win, prevailing by a neck in a winning time of 1.10:57. It was a good 13 lengths back to the third place finisher Angelofdistinction.
The defection of Trinniberg left Gantry the favorite of the Win and You're In G2 Smile Sprint Handicap. The field was shortened by one more before the race even began when Peb Hughes acted up in the gate and injured himself. At the break, Artefacto went out to take the lead, and Gantry chased the pace under jockey Richard Eramia. Gantry gained the lead in the stretch and drew away under urging to a 5 length victory in 1.10:52. Second choice Field Commission was pulled up after taking a bad step near the half mile pole and was vanned off.
The two winners of the Calder features look set up nicely to continue on with a strong second half of the year. Gantry's Smile victory earned him an automatic berth in the 2012 Breeder's Cup Sprint. A third place finish behind Shackleford and Amazombie, last year's BC Sprint and Sprint Eclipse champion, is the only sore spot of Gantry's 2012 season. He now has 3 wins from 4 starts, all in stakes races, though today's win was his biggest of both the year and his career. Musical Romance's score in the Princess Rooney put her back on the right track to defend her her titles as reigning Female Sprint Eclipse and BC Filly and Mare Sprint champion. This was just her second win of the seaon, but she has faced the best of the best in each race this year, running in all Grade 1's and Grade 2's with the exception of the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint. Look for these two, as well as Fort Loudon and Another Romance, to continue on strong during the second half of 2012.