Calder Race Course and Casino will feature five stakes on their Saturday afternoon card, four of which are part of their Summit Preview Day. The Summit Preview will include the $75,000 Leave Me Alone Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, the $75,000 Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds, the $75,000 U Can Do It Handicap for fillies and mares and the $75,000 Ponche Handicap for 3-year-olds and up; all to be run at six furlongs. The Miami Gardens, Fla., track will also feature the $55,000 Emergency Nurse Stakes at 1 mile 70 yards for fillies and mares.
The Ponche Handicap will be the spotlight event on the card with stars such as Apriority, Black Diamond Cat, Hear Ye Hear Ye, Determinato and Field Commission among the 11 entrants.
Trained by David Fawkes for Donald Dizney of Ocala, the homebred Apriority is looking for his first win since taking the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector Stakes at six furlongs at Gulfstream Park Dec. 31. The Florida-bred son of Grand Slam has had four starts since then including a non-impressive seventh in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint won by Soaring Stocks at Gulfstream Park Jan. 28. He came back strong to finish second by a head, again to Soaring Stocks in an Gulfstream optional claiming race Mar. 11 before traveling to Arkansas to finish second again, this time to Outta Tune in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April. In his last race, Apriority was a troubled sixth in the Churchill Downs Stakes (G2) so another turn around in form will be needed to win the Ponche. Fawkes has given the riding assignment to Luis Saez aboard Apriority who will break from post six.
Field Commission is the other graded stakes winner entered in the Ponche having taken the six furlong, Grade 2 Neartic Stakes at Woodbine on grass in October of 2009. Field Commission will be making his first start in more than 18 months when he finished fifth in the Grade 3 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine in November 2010. Curtis Garrison trains Field Commission for Edward A. Selzer, who is hoping the 7-year-old horse returns to the form of years past when he was competitive in graded stakes, having finished first, second or third in seven of 14 starts at that level.
At one time Determinato was considered a Kentucky Derby possibility after he won the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January of last year. But the Florida-bred was instead sidelined until April of this year, when he came back to finish seventh in a Calder optional claiming race. The 4-year-old colt may have needed the race though, as he finished a strong second to Uno Caliente in the $55,000 Champali Stakes at Calder May 12.
Another Florida-bred who should be in the hunt in the Ponche is Hear Ye Hear Ye, a homebred product of Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farms in Ocala. Trained by Stanley Gold, Hear Ye Hear Ye is by Hear No Evil, who stands at Journeyman Stud, also in Ocala. The 5-year-old horse will have some home-field advantage as the winner of the $55,000 Sumter Stakes at Calder last May and the Jack Price Juvenile Stakes, also at Calder, at age two. Hear Ye Hear Ye tried to defend his title in the Sumter in his last out, but finished sixth after setting the pace early in the May 5 stake. Juan Delgado has been assigned to ride Hear Ye Hear Ye who has drawn post five.
– Jim Lisa photo