The biggest day of the summer at Calder Casino & Race Course turned into a case of take the money and run.
After capturing the two richest thoroughbred events of the summer at Calder — a pair of $350,000 stakes for crack sprinters — the respective trainers of Bahamian Squall and Sunshine Truffles posed in the winner’s circle for the perfunctory photos.
And then both announced they were pulling up stakes at Calder and shipping their horses to Gulfstream. The two tracks are locked in a dates war that commenced Saturday when both conducted racing cards simultaneously for the first time.
Neither horseman is wasting any time.
David Fawkes, whose Bahamian Squall won the Smile Sprint Handicap, said he is moving his entire stable of 38 horses from Calder to Gulfstream on Monday.
Marty Wolfson, whose Sunshine Truffles rolled to a convincing win in the Princess Rooney Handicap, isn’t even waiting that long to bundle up his hay bales, all his equipment and every one of his 26 horses to make the move across town to Gulfstream.
“As soon as I can,” Wolfson replied when asked about his moving itinerary.
Pressed to be more specific, Wolfson answered: “One minute after midnight I’m going, just like Irsay did with the Colts.”
Wolfson was referring to owner Robert Irsay’s move of the NFL’s Colts from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984. Moving vans containing the team’s equipment moved out of Baltimore in the cover of darkness.
Because it transpired within the specter of a racing dates battle with Gulfstream, Calder’s stakes-packed Summit of Speed card Saturday was unlike any of the 13 that preceded it.
The quality of Gulfstream’s card on Saturday paled in comparison to Calder’s stakes-laden program. And yet Calder barely outhandled Gulfstream for the day’s first eight races at each of the two tracks: $2.3 million in total wagering to $2.1 million. Calder carded 11 races to Gulfstream’s eight.
Calder also controlled the spotlight Saturday with its six stakes.
The Smile and Princess Rooney are major graded events that carry national significance. The winner of the Smile, a six-furlong test, receives automatic entry to the Breeders’ Cup in early November.
That’s exactly where Fawkes said he’ll point Bahamian Squall after he dusted Trinniberg, last year’s Eclipse champion sprinter, by 1 3/4 lengths. Ridden by Luis Saez, Bahamian Squall rated just off the pace before pouncing in the stretch to win in a time of 1:10.21.
“On the turn, I moved a little bit when I saw the big favorite [Trinniberg] come inside,” Saez said. “I moved and my horse responded.”
The Fawkes-trained Big Drama won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
One race later, it was Starship Truffles’ turn.
The 4-year-old filly, who once ran for the lowly claiming tag of $6,250 before blossoming into a female speed freak, won easily for jockey Edgard Zayas. Judy the Beauty, the even-money favorite who shipped in from Kentucky for the race, broke last in the field of 13 and couldn’t make up the lost ground.
“She loves this track,” Wolfson said of Starship Truffles, who improved her lifetime record at Calder to 11 victories in 16 career starts.
Like the rest of Wolfson’s horses, though, she’ll be uprooted Sunday and vanned to Gulfstream for the rest of the summer.
In other stakes Saturday:
Mico Margarito pulled away for a convincing 4 1/2-length victory under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. in the $150,000 Carry Back Stakes, another Grade 3 stakes.