“He’s baaack,” one trainer said as she watched Sr. Quisqueyano pull ahead in the stretch and beat the favorite Speak Logistics by 7 1/2 lengths in Saturday’s $250,000 Calder Derby.
Sr. Quisqueyano was indeed back and in peak form on opening day at Calder Casino & Race Course.
He returned following disappointing results in two of his three races this year at Gulfstream Park. Sr. Quisqueyano finished second in the Gulfstream Park Derby but later came in seventh in the Holy Bull (Grade 3) and eighth in the Fountain of Youth (Grade 2).
“He loves this track” Luis Olivares, Sr. Quisqueyno’s trainer, said following the Calder Derby.
His colt won the 1 1/8-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds in 1:52.71, a solid time for Calder on a track listed as fast. He was the 4-1 second choice in the eight-horse field.
Olivares said Sr. Quisqueyano bled through the mouth and nostrils in the Holy Bull and displaced his palate in the Fountain of Youth.
Although the Calder Derby field was strong, Olivares pointed out that it did not have “all of those horses” from the two graded stakes at Gulfstream.
Meanwhile, Calder’s track was favoring speed horses like Sr. Quisqueyano. Nine of the 12 races were won by horses that were in first or second place at the first quarter mile.
Sr. Quisqueyano and jockey Carlos Olivero took full advantage of the conditions.
Speak Logistics, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., was the 4-5 favorite based largely on his third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth.
The two favorites pulled away early in Saturday’s race.
Sr. Quisqueyano had the No. 1 post, and Olivero kept him on the inside.
He led Speak Logistics by a head after a half mile in 48.43 seconds and by the same margin after three-quarters of a mile in 1:13.16.
Sr. Quisqueyano then drew away to his fourth win in seven starts at Calder He finished third in the other three races
Reporting Star, at 18-1, finished third — four lengths behind Speak Logistics.
Olivares said he will probably begin running Sr. Quisqueyano in stakes races at tracks outside Florida.
But he said he does not plan to run the horse in the Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore on May 19.
He noted the strength of the field and the fact that owner Rosa Stephany Taveras, who lives in Miami, would need to pay a nomination fee.
There also are expectations that Gulfstream and Calder might schedule more stakes races for 3-year-olds during the second half of this year.
Gulfstream and Calder are both scheduled to race on every Saturday and Sunday during the 12 months from July 2013 through June 2014.
Sr. Quisqueyano, a son of Exclusive Quality, won the one mile Seacliff Stakes at Calder on Aug. 25 and later finished second in three stakes at Calder.
• Calder did not announce opening-day attendance or handle. But the crowd appeared to be in the 4,000 range — better than average for a Saturday at Calder.
• Owner Frank Calabrese had the winners in four of the 12 opening-day races. Trainer Kirk Ziadie and jockey Edgar Zayas each had three winners.
• Calder’s next stakes race will be the Calder Oaks on Saturday. It is 1 1/16 miles on turf for 3-year-old fillies.
• Verrazano crossed his final bridge on the road to the Kentucky Derby with a narrow victory in the $1 million Wood Memorial in New York that likely sends the colt to Churchill Downs as the horse to beat on the first Saturday in May. The 3-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher won by three-quarters of a length over Normandy Invasion, who nipped Vyjack for second and likely punched his ticket to the Derby. Verrazano covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.27
• Goldencents won the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby in Arcadia, Calif., over even-money favorite Flashback by 1 1/4 lengths, giving co-owner and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino a Kentucky Derby contender. Ridden by Kevin Krigger, Goldencents ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.76.
Miami Herald wire services contributed to this report.