Calder: Tropical Meet Begins Oct 1

Calder Casino & Race Course concluded its 92-day Calder Meet on Friday, Sept. 30, and will start its 45-day Tropical Meet on Saturday, Oct. 1.  Calder conducts live Thoroughbred horse racing during the two consecutive meets, offers year-round simulcasting, slots action in the Calder Casino, and poker games and tournaments in its Studz Poker Club.


The 2011 Calder Meet was highlighted by a number of memorable stakes events, including the Summit of Speed on (July 9).  Jerry Romans 4-year-old filly Sassy Image won the $350,000 Princess Rooney Handicap (G1) on Summit of Speed day in dramatic fashion.  Under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Sassy Image came from far off the pace in the six-furlong event to win by a neck over Musical Romance for trainer Dale Romans. 


On the same afternoon, Shivananda Parboo’s 5-year-old horse Giant Ryan edged past the pace-setting Irrefutable in the final strides to win the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (G2) with jockey Cornelio Velasquez in the irons.  He is trained at Calder by Bisnath Parboo.  Also on Summit of Speed day, Devilish Lady won the $150,000 Azalea Stakes (G3) and Indiano took the $200,000 Carry Back Stakes (G2).


Calder’s annual tribute to 2-year-old racehorses, the Juvenile Showcase, was held on Aug. 27 and again displayed racing’s up-and-coming stars, including Jacks or Better Farm’s homebred 2-year-old colt Fort Loudon, who is one step closer to a sweep of the 2011 Florida Stallion Stakes after winning the $125,000 Affirmed Division and the $75,000 Dr. Fager Division.  He is trained by Stanley Gold.  The $300,000-est. In Reality Division will be held on Festival of the Sun day, Oct. 15 at Calder.


Also during the 2011 Calder Meet, on Sept. 4, Harold Queen’s 2010 Eclipse champion sprinter Big Drama returned from a layoff of more than 6 ½ months with a very impressive 2 ¼ lengths victory in the $75,000 Whippleton overnight stakes at Calder, a race that should put him on track to defend his title in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs on Sat., Nov. 5.


Leading the 2011 Calder Meet jockey standings was the defending champion, Luis Saez with 142 wins.  It was a landslide victory as second-place finisher Jose Alvarez rode 77 winners at the meet.  Finishing third in the standings with 73 wins was Juan Leyva. 


Also a runaway winner in the standings was trainer Antonio Sano, earning his first leading trainer’s title in North America.  The native of Venezuela won 46 races at the meet, while Bisnath Parboo had 26 winners.  Not far behind was Bill White with 24 victories. 


The race for leading owner honors went down to the last race on Friday’s card, with Sherry Parbhoo accepting the trophy after winning 19 races.  Frank Calabrese was second with 18 winners, and Jacks or Better Farm came in third with 15 trips to the winner’s circle during the season.


The 45-day Tropical Meet begins on October 1 and concludes on December 2, 2011.  The Tropical Meet features several important Graded stakes races.  Noteworthy dates include: the Festival of the Sun (Oct. 15); simulcast of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Nov. 4 and 5; The Florida Million (Nov. 12); major stakes races on Oct. 1, Nov. 24 & 26, and Dec. 2.


Calder presents the 20th renewal of the Festival of the Sun in 2011.  One of Calder’s signature events, the Festival of the Sun presents five stakes races worth a total $850,000, including the rich finals of the Florida Stallion Stakes: the $300,000-est. In Reality Division and the $300,000-est. My Dear Girl Division.  The Florida Stallion Stakes program, now in its 30th year, was created to promote Florida-bred Thoroughbreds and the $5 billion industry that supports them.  The day also features the $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap (G3), $75,000 Tropical Park Derby, and $75,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes.


The Florida Million, now in its tenth year, features eight stakes races for registered Florida-breds worth $1 million.


Daily first race post time for the Tropical Meet is 12:30 p.m. Exceptions are on Breeders’ Cup Saturday (post time 12 p.m.) and Thanksgiving Day (post time 11 a.m.).  Admission to both the grandstand and clubhouse is free; parking is also free, with valet service also available.





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