A day of upsets at the Summit Preview


At 13-1 odds, Black Diamond Cat managed a clean victory in the Ponche Handicap, and the filly R Free Roll won the Unbridled.

Special to The Miami Herald

It was a day with upsets, a filly beating the boys and fast winning times on Saturday in the sprint stakes at the Summit Preview.

The annual four-stakes card at Calder Casino & Race Course also had a veterans theme as Ralph Ziadie and Manny Azpurua, two of the track’s all-time leading trainers, saddled winners. All of the stakes were six furlongs on dirt with $75,000 purses.

Black Diamond Cat, at 13-1, pulled off the biggest upset by winning the feature Ponche Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths over Close It Out.

He shared the spotlight with R Free Roll, a filly who beat a field in which all seven other horses were males. She set a stakes record of 1:10.19 in the Unbridled Stakes for 3-year-olds.

R Free Roll carried 110 pounds, between 5 and 12 pounds fewer than any of her male rivals. Ziadie said that was a major reason he ran her in the Unbridled rather than in the Leave Me Alone Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

A review of Equibase Co. data indicates the victory was Ziadie’s first in a stakes since late 2007 when the mare Cat Can Do won several Calder stakes.

Ziadie has led trainers in wins six times in race meets at the Miami Gardens track, where he has won 1,062 races.

Wildcat Lilly, trained by Azpurua, won the Leave Me Alone by four lengths over Dreaming of Sophia.

Kirk Ziadie, Ralph’s son, trains Dreaming of Sophia.

Azpurua also trains Street Girl, who finished third a neck behind Dreaming of Sophia.

Capitalism at Risk beat Oh Carole by a nose in the U Can Do It Handicap for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

The winners and many of the other horses in Saturday’s stakes will probably be back at Calder on July 6 for the annual Summit of Speed. Calder will have four graded stakes that day, all six furlongs on dirt with purses of at least $150,000.

All four winners in Saturday’s stakes had times that are fast for Calder.

Calder’s track was listed as fast by midday and it played that way after drying out from Friday’s rain.

Three of the stakes winners led at every call. Black Diamond Cat chased a very fast pace and caught the leaders about 200 yards from the finish in the Ponche and held off the late-running Close It Out.

The result reversed the outcome of the six-furlong Champali Stakes at Calder on May 18, when Close It Out beat Black Diamond Cat by 4 1/2 lengths.

In the Ponche, eventual fourth place finisher Bahamian Squall led after a half mile in 44.97 seconds with Black Diamond Cat fourth.

“We wanted sizzle in the pace and we got it,” said Larry Bates, the trainer of Black Diamond Cat.

Black Diamond Cat won in 1:10.28 under Luca Panici. It was the first stakes win since 2011 for the 6-year-old gelding, who is owned by James Dodge of Boynton Beach.

Jackson Bend, a national star racing at Calder for the first time since 2011, finished fifth.

Black Diamond Cat likely will run in the $350,000 Smile Sprint Handicap (Grade 2) at Calder on July 6, Bates said.

Capitalism at Risk won the U can Do It in 1:117. She was ridden by Orlando Bocachica and is trained by Herman Wilensky.

The Princess Rooney (Grade 1) is the July 6 follow-up to the U Can Do It.

Wildcat Lilly won the Leave Me Alone in 1:10.98, with Manny Alvarez riding.

Horses from that race will go on to the $150,000 Azalea on July 6.

Ziadie said he expects to run R Free Roll in the Azalea or in the $150,000 Carry Back (Grade 3) against males at the Summit of Speed.

Assigned weights will probably be a factor in his decision, Ziadie said.

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