Part of being a successful jockey is being able to find one’s mistake in a race lost and correct it. It may have been in the Calder Casino and Race Course jockeys’ quarters after the Primal Stakes on July 12, when jockey Luis Saez, looking up at the replay on the television monitor, realized his mistake. Perhaps he had known it the moment he crossed the finish line – the replay only confirmed it. But in any case he had seen his error.
What Saez saw on the replay was that he had taken the lead at the top of the stretch aboard Cash Rules in the $51,000 stake after stalking pace-setter Oligarch through much of the 1 1⁄16-mile race. But just as he took the lead, South Florida nemesis Numb Lips sped past and went on to win by three-lengths. Cash Rules fought on stubbornly to hold second, but Saez knew he had not given the Florida-bred gelding his best ride.
Saez responded and would change his strategy slightly in the $55,000 Band Is Passing Stakes at Calder Saturday and it worked to perfection as Cash Rules avenged his loss in the Primal by winning the 1 1⁄16 stake over a sloppy main track. The Band Is Passing was scheduled for the turf, but thunderstorms had forced officials to move the race to the main track.
Again Oligarch set the pace, taking the Band Is Passing field through sluggish fractions of :23.92, :48.29 and 1:13.69. Again Saez and Cash Rules laid back in third, about two lengths behind the frontrunner with long shot Runyon Humor separating them in second. At the top of the stretch, Oligarch began to tire and drifted out just a bit. Saez, waiting a bit more patiently this time, could not pass-up the opportunity to hit the hole on the rail and shot Cash Rules to the lead. This time Cash Rules had plenty left and he went on to extend his lead to two and one-half lengths at the wire. The final time was 1:46.26.
Numb Lips rallied for second but was never a threat. Finishing third was Liberty Cap while Oligarch and Runyon Humor faded to sixth and seventh respectively. Duc Duc was fourth and Flatter This was fifth to complete the order of finish.
“I think [Numb Lips] beat me last time because on that day I moved [Cash Rules] a little too early,” winning jockey Luis Saez said, referring to the runner-up finish in the Primal. “Today the plan was to take a hold of him and wait as long as I could.”
Trained by Dave Fawkes for owner and co-breeder Larry Fugate of Dade City, Cash Rules returned $4.60, $2.60, and $2.20 for the win. Numb Lips paid $2.80 and $2.20 when second, while third-place finisher Liberty Cap, who was also third in the Primal, returned $3.20.
“Once I saw the rail open at the top of the stretch, I knew it was time to move him,” Saez said. “I had to go right then before the other horses started to come at me. And when I asked my horse for run, he responded perfect and took off. The race was over.”
Bred in Florida by Fugate and Marsh Novak and Suzanne Novak also of Dade City, Cash Rules won his fifth race from 12 career races and increased his earnings to $167,226. The Band Is Passing was his second stakes win of the current Calder meeting having also taken the Sumter Stakes on May 5 at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track.
The win by Cash Rules was the sixth of the day for Saez, who became just the ninth jockey in the 40-year history of Calder to win that many races on a single card. The last to accomplish the feat was Manoel Cruz in November, 2005. Eddie Castro holds the one-day win record at Calder, riding nine winners in June, 2005.
– Photo of Florida-bred Cash Rules by Coady