Calipha breezes wire to wire

May 21, 1994|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Staff Writer

They couldn't take the early lead from her and they couldn't catch her in the stretch.

So, Calipha showed everyone her heels from wire to wire yesterday, romping to victory in the 70th running of the $200,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.

It was the fourth straight win and fifth in seven career starts for the 3-year-old filly, who covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.

A daughter of Two Punch -- who is sire of more 1994 winners than any other stallion -- Calipha was facing a field that included seven other stakes winners.

But she made a shambles of the race by breaking first, then widening to a six-length lead early in the stretch before settling for a 2 1/4 -length margin over Bunting.

"She can go a quarter in 21 seconds [22 4/5 yesterday], but she'll rate kind, too," said trainer Buddy Delp, who gained fame in 1979 with Spectacular Bid.

"She's got a great disposition, she's laid back and the 22 and 4 was to get her to the lead. I was a little worried then, but I know she's fast and Rick [jockey Rick Wilson] got her to relax. When I saw the 47 [for the half mile], I knew she had a good shot to win."

Wilson called the big filly "a rocket" and said he was trying to get her to slow down a tad early in the race.

"She was a little worked up in the post parade and nervous. She was ready," he said. "At the top of the lane, I clucked to her and she picked it up a little bit.

"Then she saw the gate and picked her head back up, so I tapped her to be sure that she got her mind back on work, and she took right off. There was plenty left. The last sixteenth, she was playing, looking around."

Calipha is owned by Nancy Bayard of Chesapeake City, whose husband James "died exactly 10 years ago," according to Delp. "I've been with this lady 32 years. I've got eight [horses] for her, all homebreds. This is the best horse she's ever bred."

Two Bill Badgett trainees, Bunting and Golden Braids, were the best of the rest and Badgett was pleased with them.

"They both had a decent trip. Bunting got through and the other filly ran big," said Badgett. "I was very happy although I'd like to have Bunting win one."

Robbie Davis, who rode Bunting, said the quick first quarter "hurt" his horse a little. "I just have to give the winner credit."

Calipha earned $120,000 to more than double her lifetime earnings. The 5-2 favorite paid $7.80 to win.

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