by Jim Freer
Saturday, Sept.14th -The colts Best Plan Yet and Brothersofthetime and the filly Flat Out Charming have thus far been secondary stars among South Florida’s 2013 crop of 2-year-olds.
They will have their chances to make headlines on Saturday at Calder Casino & Race Course. Best Plan Yet and Brothersofthetime will probably be the favorites in the $85,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes and Flat Out Charming will head the field in the $85,000 Brave Raj. Both are one mile and 70 yards on dirt.
Calder will have two other stakes on Saturday’s annual Festival Preview card.
The $70,000 Judy’s Red Shoes is for 3-year-old fillies and the $70,000 Needles is for 3-year-old males. Both are 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Calder officials expect that many of the horses in Saturday’s stakes will be back for richer stakes races at the annual Festival of the Sun on Oct. 12.
Gulfstream Park will have one stakes on Saturday–the $100,000 Montbrook at one mile on dirt for 3-yeatr-olds and up.
Calder 2-YO Stakes
As in other years, several trainers are using the Brave Raj and Foolish Pleasure as preps for the final races in the Florida Stallion Stakes Series on Oct. 12.
Saturday’s fields do not include My Brown Eyed Guy, winner of the first two legs of the Stallion Stakes male division, or Scandalous Act, winner of the first two races in the filly division.
Those two horses are not scheduled to race until Oct. 12, when they will seek Stallion Stakes sweeps for their breeder/owner Gilbert Campbell and trainer Kathleen O’Connell.
Scandalous Act will be in the $300,000 My Dear Girl and My Brown Eyed Guy will be in the $300,000 In Reality–both at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
A big handicapping question will be how to choose between Best Plan Yet, Brothersofthetime and East Hall based on the Foolish Pleasure distance.
Best Plan Yet comes into the race after strong second place finishes to My Brown Eyed Guy in Stallion Stakes races. But the Foolish Pleasure will be his first race longer than seven furlongs and first around two turns.
On Aug. 24 at Calder, Brothersofthetime held off a late run by East Hall to win by a nose in the one mile Seacliff Stakes in the modest time of 1:42.01.
DNA Approved struggled in the stretch and finished third. He also is back for the Foolish Pleasure.
On Aug. 24 in the seven furlong Affirmed Stakes,, Best Plan Yet finished 2 1//4 lengths behind the dominant My Brown Eyed Guy and was expanding his own lead over the rest of the field.
Best Plan Yet earned an Equibase speed figure of 92 while Brothersofthetime earned just a 78 in their Aug. 24 races.
The Foolish Pleasure also has the speedy The Battle Is On and Union Cash, from the Campbell-O’Connell barn.
Prediction: Best Plan Yet, Brothersofthetime, The Battle Is On, East Hall.
Flat Out Charming rallied to beat Light Bringer by a nose in the one mile Lindsay Frolic Stakes on Aug. 24.
Look of a Star finished third in that race where the winning time was a relatively weak 1:42.89.
All three will be in the Brave Raj.
The race also will have Quinnkat and Magical Holiday who finished second and third while being crushed by Scandalous Act in the seven furlong Susan’s Girl on Aug. 24 Scandalous Act won by 8 1/2 lengths over Quinnkat with Holiday Magic a neck behind in third.
Prediction: Flat Out Charming, Holiday Magic, Quinnkat, Light Bringer.
The Brave Raj and Foolish Pleasure do not have the depth and star power of most of the recent graded 2-year-old stakes at tracks such as Saratoga, Del Mar and Churchill Downs.
But fans locally and nationally will be looking to see if another star or two will come out of the Calder stakes, like Rose to Gold and Itsmyluckyday did last year.
After winning the Foolish Pleasure, Itsmyluckyday went on to a high-profile 2013 campaign that included a victory in the Holy Bull at Gulfstream and a second place finish in the Preakness Stakes.
Rose to Gold won the Brave Raj. She later won a graded stakes at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., and two graded stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.