In what could have been a clash of the heavyweights down to the wire, Jack’s or Better Farm, Inc.’s Best Plan Yet won the final leg of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series, the $300,000 In Reality Division, while the favorite, My Brown Eyed Guy, finished last.
Trained by Stanley Gold and ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez, Best Plan Yet finished second to My Brown Eyed Guy in the first two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series, the Dr. Fager and Affirmed Divisions.
“I really wanted to win it,” said Gold. “I thought it would be his best performance to date, and everything went well.”
Best Plan Yet stalked the pace to the half-mile pole, then made his move toward the inside as they entered the top of the final turn to take the lead from Copa Del Rey.
“I worked very hard with the horse,” said Sanchez. “The last time he won he surprised me, and I said ‘Okay, this time I will take him back, but not too far back.’ I tried to put him behind the speed and when he was ready, let him go. He’s unbelievable.”
Having a long history of Calder stakes wins with horses such as Jackson Bend, Awesome Feather, and Fort Loudon, Gold reminisced on his success with the Florida Stallion Stakes Series at Calder.
“Being the last one at Calder makes it special,” said Gold. “The Stallion Stakes have been good to me. Being it’s the last one, it’s kind of nice to win it. It’s a happy ending to something that’s really not over; it’s bittersweet.”
My Brown Eyed Guy made a shocking last-place finish. He pressed the pace early on, then had nothing left to finish off the race. A win with My Brown Eyed Guy would have meant a full Florida Stallion Stakes Series sweep for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and owner Gilbert Campbell.
“He seems like he will be fine,” said O’Connell. “Maybe he will need the turf, or not to go as long. But he seemed like he would be fine this morning.”
Best Plan Yet returned $5.60, $4.00, and $3.40 for the win. Purchango paid $20.40 and $17.00 for second, and We’re All Set returned $12.20 for third.
Completing the order of finish were Copa Del Rey, D N A Approved, Arangol, Worldly Vision, Rasta Rant, and My Brown Eyed Guy.