Numerous successes in the careers of the horses, trainers, owners, and jockeys at Calder Casino & Race Course were celebrated during the 53-day Tropical Meet in 2013.
The success of Scandalous Act in her 2-year-old season continued into the Tropical Meet when she won the finale of the filly division of the 2013 Florida Stallion Stakes Series, the My Dear Girl.
When Scandalous Act cruised to victory in the 1 1/6-mile My Dear Girl Division on October 12, she allowed trainer Kathleen O'Connell to become the first female trainer to sweep the series, and brought sweep honors as well for owner and breeder Gilbert G. Campbell. Jockey Eduardo Nunez was aboard the filly for the My Dear Girl win.
Best Plan Yet took the victory in the final leg of the Stallion Stakes series for the boys, the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Division. He also won the prep race for the In Reality, the Foolish Pleasure Stakes, on September 14.
The race for the Tropical Meet jockey title came down to the closing weekend of the meet after jockey John Delgado headed into the final three days with a 37-36 lead over Nunez, who ranks third in all-time wins during the Tropical Meet. However, when jockey Edgard Zayas won three races on Friday, he put himself into the running with 35 wins.
After all three jockeys took victories on Saturday, Delgado held his lead and took home the title with a final win total of 38, while Zayas brought in one more win on Sunday to tie for second place with Nunez at 37 wins. Delgado led all jockeys in wins for much of the meet, and earned Jockey of the Month honors for October.
The leading trainer and owner titles were decided early on in the Tropical Meet as trainer Kirk Ziadie and owner Frank Carl Calabrese took a strong lead and never looked back. They closed out the Tropical Meet with 28 victories apiece, all obtained as part of their owner-trainer combinations. They led the Top 10 of the trainer and owner categories in win percentage and in-the-money percentage as well, winning 52 percent of the time from 54 starts and were in-the-money 83 percent of the time. Among the highlights of their victories was winning three races on a card on September 6.
Longtime Calder-based trainer and member of the Calder Hall of Fame Bill White surpassed trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. to become the second all-time leading trainer in Tropical Meet races won after scoring 19 wins to put his Tropical total to 399. Highlights of White's 2013 Tropical Meet include winning three races on a card on October 11 and reaching the 2,000 career win milestone on October 28 when his trainee Determinato won the Kaiser Handicap.
Jockey Orlando Bocachica reached his own milestone of 1,000 career wins about on October 20.
Numerous first victories occurred during the Tropical Meet. Apprentice jockey Andre Worrie scored his first career victory on September 29 while Andre Ramgeet earned his first career victory on November 1 after having started his riding career earlier in the Tropical Meet. They both enjoyed the celebratory dousing of water by their fellow jockeys on their return to the jockeys' room.
Trainers Efren Loza, Jr., Jose Meza, and Bruno Tessore each registered their first career victories as trainers. Loza scored his on October 12, while Meza won his on November 8, and Tessore earned his on December 27.
Twilight Eclipse closed out the stakes action for the Tropical Meet on December 28 by winning the Grade 3 W. L. McKnight Stakes for his second year in a row. The three other graded stakes during the meet were held on December 7. Speaking of Which took the Grade 3 Tropical Turf Handicap, while Csaba cruised to the wire in the Grade 3 Fred. W. Hooper Handicap, and Valiant Girl upset the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap.
The 2014 Calder Meet begins on Friday, January 3. The $65,000 Chispiski Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going one mile kicks off the 2014 Calder stakes action and will be held Saturday, January 4. Live racing at Calder will continue every Friday through Sunday with a first race post time of 12:30 p.m.
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