By Jim Freer
Friday, Aug. 30 -- The South Florida racing schedule will have several changes this Labor Day weekend.
Gulfstream Park will have a three-day weekend as it adds a nine-race program on Monday with first post time of 1:15 p.m..
Calder Casino & Race Course is sticking with its Friday through Sunday schedule.
Starting this Sunday, Calder will move its daily first post time up to 12:30 p.m., fom the previous 12:50 p.m.
The change coincides with Saturday’s end of the annual Calder meet and Sunday’s start of the annual Tropical at Calder meet.
Calder owns and uses two racing permits - its own and the permit of Tropical Park which last held racing in 1972.
Calder will not offer any stakes races this weekend.
Gulfstream will have one stakes race on Friday and one stakes race on Monday.
Gulfstream’s Saturday stakes is the $100,000 Wasted Tears at 1 1/16 miles on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The Monday stakes is the The Vid at 1 1/16 miles on turf for males 3-yeats-old and up.
The Wasted Tears has nine horses entered for turf or dirt. Two others, Dreaming of Sophia and Swinger’s Party, will run only if wet weather forces Gulfstream to move the race to the dirt .
Angelica Zapata and Awesome Belle should be among the favorites on either surface. Like most of the other entrants, they have had their greatest success at Calder.
Ten of the 11 entrants have raced in at least one stakes at Gulfstream or at Calder since July 6 when the tracks began head-to-head weekend racing.
That points to one development that has been positive for fans and for owners and trainers of many of South Florida’s top horses.
With both tracks running every Saturday there are more stakes races, sometimes similar in distance and eligibility and less than a month apart, than in previous summers when Calder was the lone local track with racing.
But some trainers are not having their horses in effect dance every dance!
For example, on Aug.10 Gulfstream held the Ta Wee for distaff horses 3-years-old and up with identical purse, distance and surface as the Wasted Tears.
But none of the Ta Wee’s three top finishers, including the winner Millennia, will run in the Wasted Tears.
The versatile Awesome Belle finished fourth in the Ta Wee’s eight-horse field, 5 ¾ lengths behind the winner.
She has won five stakes at Calder, with two on turf, since June 2012. But she has not been in the money in four career starts at Gulfstream.
Awesome Belle, a 4-year-old, is trained by Stan Gold and will be ridden by her regular jockey Fernando Jara.
She is one of several horses that could battle for the early lead—along with Love to Score. Creative License and Miss Montreal.
Angelica Zapata, a 5-year-old , will make her Gulfstream debut. She probably will be racing in mid-pack and is among horses that could benefit from a speed duel up front.
She has won five Calder lstakes, all at one mile or longer on dirt.
Her turf record includes third place in a photo in the Hollywood Wildcat, at 7 ½ furlongs at Calder on July 6.
Miss Montreal finished second in the Hollywood Wildcat. She raced at Saratoga on Aug. 3, , finishing seventh in a 10-horse field in the $100,000 De La Rose stakes at one mile on turf .’
Manoel Cruz will ride her on Saturday for trainer Dave Braddy.
Partly because of human connections, bettors might find it hard to toss any Wasted Tears horses from consideration for the trifecta or superfecta.
The team of owner Frank Carl Calabrese and trainer Kirk Ziadie have Celestial Kitten and the strong main track only threat Dreaming of Sophia.
Calabrese and Ziadie have long clinched the owner and trainer titles for the Calder meet and they have big leads in wins at Gulfstream’s summer-fall meet.’
Marty Wolfson trains Ann of the Dance, a former graded stakes runner, and main track only entrant and threat Swinger’s Party.
The The Viid has nine entrants for either surface and two main track only entrants, Where’s Sterling and
Mucho Mas Macho, Backseat Memories and No Lift Shift have won Gulfstream turf stakes this year and would be among favorites if the The Vid stays on turf.
Where’s Sterling, from the Calabrese-Ziadie barn, would be heavily favored if the race is moved to the dirt.