Horse Racing | Calder Casino & Race Course

Summer Front looking to make winning first impression at Calder

In a photo provided by Gulfstream Park, Summer Front (9, with jockey Ramon Dominguez) captures the Dania Beach Stakes horse race at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 18, 2011, in Hallandale Beach. Finale (8), ridden by John Velazquez, was second.
In a photo provided by Gulfstream Park, Summer Front (9, with jockey Ramon Dominguez) captures the Dania Beach Stakes horse race at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 18, 2011, in Hallandale Beach. Finale (8), ridden by John Velazquez, was second.

Special to The Miami Herald

Summer Front, a budding star making his Calder Casino & Race Course debut, will head a 12-horse field in Saturday’s $100,000 Miami Mile Handicap (Grade 3).

The Miami Mile is for 4-year-olds and up and is scheduled for the turf. With only a slight chance of rain in the overnight forecast, it is likely that the race will stay on that surface.

Summer Front, a 4-year-old trained by Christophe Clement, has won turf stakes at Gulfstream Park, Belmont Park and Saratoga.

Mucho Mas Macho, a turf stakes winner at Calder last year and at Gulfstream this year, is one of seven Calder-stabled horses in the field.

The Miami Mile will be the second race this year for Summer Front, with Joe Bravo having the mount. On March 3, he finished third in a one-mile turf allowance at Gulfstream. Decisive Moment, who finished second in that race, is also in the Miami Mile.

Since late March, Summer Front has had several fast workouts at Payson Park in Indiantown.

The betting choices behind Summer Front could be Mucho Mas Macho along with Cool Blue Red Hot and Monument Hill, both winners of turf allowances at Gulfstream.

Mucho Mas Macho, trained by Henry Collazo, won last year’s 1 1/16-mile Needles Stakes at Calder. On Jan. 12, at 41-1, he rallied from ninth place entering the stretch and won the 1 1/16-mile Fort Lauderdale (Grade 3) at Gulfstream.

“He won a mile race (non-stakes) here at Calder last year, so I don’t think this is too short for him,” Collazo said.

Mucho Mas Macho will have his regular jockey, Juan Leyva.

The Miami Mile field includes speedsters Decisive Moment, Megamove and El Commodore, and it could have a fast pace

On Saturday, Calder also will have the first running of the $55,000 Musical Romance Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt for fillies and mares 4 years old and up.

The now-retired Musical Romance, whose home track was Calder, won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs and won that year’s Eclipse Award for female sprinters.

Marty Wolfson trains three of the race’s nine entrants, including likely favorites Starship Truffles and Centrique.

Frolic’s Revenge and Redbud Road, both stakes winners at Calder, also are in the field.

Musical Romance was owned by her trainer, Bill Kaplan, and Pinnacle Racing Stable, whose managing partner, Adam Lazarus, lives in Aventura.

• On Friday, Itsmyluckyday began a van ride from Calder and will arrive at Churchill Downs the following morning to prepare for the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

Frank Perez, trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.’s longtime top assistant, will head the team traveling with the colt. Plesa, his wife, Laurie, and fellow co-owners Marion Montonari and Dave and Olga Melin will fly to Louisville, Ky., early on the week of April 29.

“The Derby is a thrill,” Perez said on Thursday while checking on Itsmyluckyday in his stall at Calder. “But except for when I’m sleeping, I plan to be at the track and keep an eye on him.”

Itsmyluckyday won the Holy Bull (Grade 3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 26, setting a track record of 1:41.81 for 1 1/16 miles. He finished second to the late-running Orb in the 11/8-mile Florida Derby (Grade 1) on March 30.

Orb and Verrazano, unbeaten in four career starts, could be the two betting favorites for the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby, with Itsmyluckyday possibly among the top six choices. Verrazano, trained by Todd Pletcher, won two non-stakes races at Gulfstream and later won the Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) and the Wood Memorial (Grade 1) at Aqueduct.

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