Starship Truffles and Flying Trip came out winners in Saturday’s feature at Calder Casino & Race Course.
Starship Truffles beat Flying Trip by 1½ lengths in the one-mile dirt race that was the $50,000 third-and-final race of Calder’s Tropical Starter Series for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up.
But Flying Trip, trained by Gilberto Zerpa, won the series with 16 points. That was based on six points for her win in the series’ second race on Sept. 22 and five points for second-place finishes in the opening race Sept, 1 and on Saturday.
Starship Truffles, one of numerous talented fillies trained by Marty Wolfson, had 11 points. She was not in the Sept. 1 race and finished second in the Sept. 22 race.
Zerpa received a $5,000 bonus from Calder as trainer of the horse with the most points.
The series was restricted to horses that have run for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2011 or this year.
Saturday, Cool Vixen led Starship Truffles by two lengths after three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.21.
Starship Truffles, ridden by Luis Saez, began gaining and took the lead about 200 yards from the wire.
She held off a late rally by Flying Trip, the 7-10 favorite ridden by Pedro Monterrey. Cool Vixen finished third, another length behind.
Starship Truffles won in 1:39.05 on a track listed as fast. She was the 6-1 third choice in the six-horse field.
Wolfson also trains Beloveda, the winner of the Sept. 1 race.
On Sept. 22, he ran Beloveda in the $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap, where she finished sixth, rather than in the Starter Series race.
“I liked this series because I have a lot of horses that run at this level,” Wolfson said.
He said he plans to keep running Starship Truffles, a fast-improving 3-year-old in races at the $50,000 level.
She has won eight of 15 starts, and Saturday’s win was by far the richest. The $27,000 check raised her earnings to $91,805.
On Saturday, Calder will have the third-and-final race in its Starter Series for males 3-years-old and up.
Bull Dozer and Ninetothenine, the winners of the first two races, probably will be among entrants in the one-mile dirt race.
Gulfstream Park and its Palm Meadows training center affiliate opened, their stables Thursday for horses that are being shipped down from northern states for Gulfstream’s meet that begins on Dec. 1
Gulfstream will have racing through April 5, mostly with a Wednesday through Sunday schedule.
Todd Pletcher, Gulfstream’s leading trainer in each of the last nine years, was among trainers who sent horses into Palm Meadows on Thursday.
Gulfstream in Hallandale Beach and Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach have about 2,300 stalls, combined.
Some of the horses at Gulfstream and Palm Meadows will race at Calder before that track ends its season Nov. 30
On Dec. 1, Gulfstream will be the site of thoroughbred racing’s annual Claiming Crown for the first time.
The event has seven stakes races that are restricted to horses that have run at least one time for a claiming price in 2011 or 2012. It is known as racing’s national “blue-collar day,” even though some of the entrants also have run in stakes races.
The $1 million Florida Derby (Grade 1), Gulfstream’s biggest race for 3-year-olds will be March 30.