Thursday, September 14, 2006 12:00 AM
Florence, KY . . . September 14, 2006 . . . Caller One will try to add to his $3.2 million bankroll Saturday when he faces nine foes in the 6 1/2-furlong Marfa Sprint at Turfway Park. A win in the Marfa would make the enduring gelding three-for-three at Turfway, adding to wins in the Kentucky Cup Sprint and the Hansel—both in 2000.
At an age most runners are already retired, nine-year-old Caller One is back in the hunt. After racking up 10 wins, including back-to-back victories in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen Sprint in 2000 and 2001, Caller One finished last of 12 in the 2002 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Sprint and was off for two years. He then embarked on a hit-and-run comeback of sorts, racing only in the 2-furlong Rocket Man Stakes at Calder in both 2004 and 2005, finishing third and second, respectively.
Beginning the second half of this year, however, Caller One has begun what looks like a campaign. He finished fifth in his third Rocket Man and has since started twice more, finishing fourth after a stumbling start in the 4 1/2-furlong West Virginia Legislature Chairman's Cup and second in a 6-furlong allowance race at Saratoga, both last month. Trainer James Chapman gave him a work over Polytrack last Saturday in preparation for the Marfa, when jockey Kristi Chapman will ride.
Making his first start at Turfway is the Australia-bred Man of Illusion, a stakes winner in his home country and a Grade III winner at Churchill on the turf in May. Leading jockey Julien Leparoux has been aboard for three of the horse's four U.S. starts and has the mount again Saturday for trainer Patrick Biancone.
Trainer Sherman Mitchell brings Yucatan in off a second-place finish in the Labor Day Stakes at Mountaineer. A steady performer who seems always to bring his best game, Yucatan has four wins and four seconds from 10 starts this year, all but two in stakes. He is two-for-four at Turfway, including the 2006 Forego Stakes on Polytrack. Deshawn Parker comes in from Mountaineer to ride.
Also lining up for the race is Level Playingfield, the second Kentucky Cup Sprint winner in the race (2004) and the winner of last year's Marfa. A heart-stopping closer, he has one win from eight starts this year for trainer Robert Holthus. Regular jockey John McKee rides.
After his win in the Fall Championship with Gouldings Green last Saturday, trainer Anthony Reinstedler looks for another stakes win with Junior College in the Marfa. Junior College has back-to-back stakes wins from Ellis Park and is three-for-five this year. Jesus Castanon rides.
Completing the field for the Marfa are Exciting Metro (jockey Orlando Mojica); Sterling Gold (Calvin Borel); Smalltown Slew (Miguel Mena); Raedonald (Brandon Minnock); and Old Deuteronomy (Jason Lumpkins).
First post Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Admission and parking at Turfway are free.