News Release from Gulfstream Park
Hallandale Beach, Fla., Wednesday July 29 – The FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, the annual centerpiece of the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park, will get underway Saturday, Aug. 1, bringing together many of the brightest 2-year-old prospects sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
The $100,000 Dr. Fager and the $100,000 Desert Vixen for fillies, both to be contested on dirt at six furlongs, will co-headline Saturday’s first leg of the series.
Gulfstream will take entries and draw for posts Wednesday afternoon. They will draw for post positions for the Dr. Fager and Desert Vixen.
The series will continue August 29th with the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, both slated for seven furlongs on dirt.
The Sept. 26th Sire Stakes will also include the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for 3-year-olds and up.
The Florida Sire Stakes has a rich history dating back to 1982, when it was created by Ocala Breeder and owner Dan Lasater. The six-race series has produced six Eclipse Award champions: Awesome Feather (2010 Juvenile Filly), Big Drama (2010 Sprint), Holy Bull (1994 Horse of the Year and 3-Year-Old Male), Smile (1986 Sprint), Brave Raj (1986 Juvenile Filly) and Not Surprising (1995 Sprint Champion).
“The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association is excited to once again present our summer Florida Sire Stakes in conjunction with our partners Gulfstream Park and the Florida HBPA,” said Lonny Powell, CEO and Executive Vice President of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association (FTBOA).
“The series will continue to offer $1.4 million over six 2-year-old-stakes, an additional $100,000 in 2-year-old prep race bonuses as well as the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for FSS eligible Florida-breds, 3-years-old and older,” he added. “The series continues to be one of the most lucrative and respected state-bred race programs in the country. Our two September finals at $400,000 each represent some of the biggest purses anywhere in 2020 which we feel is even more significant and important to Florida breeders, owners, trainers, jockeys and the track during these challenging times faced throughout our world and industry,”
The Dr. Fager and the Desert Vixen are both expected to attract deep fields with likely starters trained by several high-profile trainers, including Todd Pletcher, Ralph Nicks, Eddie Plesa Jr., and Kathleen O’Connell.
Pletcher, who has maintained a stable at Gulfstream during the Spring/Summer Meet, is expected to be represented by J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp.’s Son of a Beast in the Dr. Fager and A I A Racing’s Tamiami in the Desert Vixen. Son of a Beast, a son of The Big Beast, withstood race-long pressure to capture his June 24 debut in front-running fashion. Tamiami, a daughter of Rattlesnake Bridge, overcame a horrific start to capture her June 21 debut with a furious late run, completing six-furlongs in 1:09.1.
Son of a Beast will again be sternly tested in the Dr. Fager, which is the goal for Stonehedge LLC’s Big Daddy Dave and Arindel’s Gatsby. The Nicks-trained Big Daddy Dave, a son of Khozan, is coming off a 2 ¾-length romp in his May 30 debut, completing five furlongs in 58.88 seconds. Juan Alvarado’s Gatsby, a homebred son of Brethren, captured his May 17 debut, upsetting Wesley Ward-trained Golden Pal, who went on to finish second in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot.
Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Famous Gent, a son of Big Dude who broke his maiden June 5 with a 58.87 five-furlong clocking, enters Florida Sire Stakes competition off a troubled third-place finish behind undefeated Papetu in the first juvenile allowance of the Spring/Summer Meet.
Pletcher-trained Tamiami is also expected to have some tough competition in the Desert Vixen, including trainer/owner Dan Pita’s Princess Secret and Joseph Imbesi’s Social Exclusion. Princess Secret romped to a four-length victory in her May 7 debut. The daughter of Khozan came back to finish second against the boys, closing to within 1 ½ lengths of Papetu after being bumped hard at the start. Steve Klesaris-trained Social Exclusion, a daughter of Gulfstream Park track-record holder Social Inclusion, turned in a dazzling debut performance while scoring a 4 ¾-length front-running victory.
Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Chance It captured last year’s Dr. Fager by 3 ½ lengths. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Currency Swap was upset by Stonehedge LLC’s Liam’s Lucky Charm in the Affirmed before impressively capturing the In Reality. Chance It went on to capture the Jan. 4 Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream in his 3-year-old debut.
Stonehedge LLC’s Lenzi’s Lucky Lady captured last year’s Desert Vixen. Amalio Ruiz-Lozano’s Ceci Valentina won the Susan’s Girl, before Gary Barber’s Two Sixty romped to victory in the My Dear Girl.