In an afternoon of familiar names from the Juvenile Showcase, four stakes races set the pace for what can be expected from next month’s Festival of the Sun at Calder Casino & Race Course.
$70,000 NEEDLES STAKES
In only the second race of his career, Donald R. Dizney’s Dysprosium captured his second victory during his stakes debut in the Needles Stakes. Dysprosium broke his maiden on August 13 in a $25,000 claiming race at Calder. The Needles serves as the prep race for the Tropical Park Derby.
“He was really impressive in this race,” said winning trainer Bill White. “You never know how a horse is going to perform in their first stakes race, but he ran so well in his first race that I knew we could expect great things from him."
Dysprosium, with jockey Jeffrey Sanchez aboard, claimed a wire-to-wire win six lengths ahead of the favorite, Midnight Cello. Midnight Cello started the race in seventh, but was able to make up distance throughout the race.
“The plan was the same as the first time at Calder – try to go to the lead; if one horse goes try to sit behind but the first plan was to go to the lead,” said Sanchez. “He was a second-time starter; I didn’t want to now change how he runs.”
Dysprosium returned $11.20, $3.60, and $3.20 for the win. Midnight Cello paid $2.80 and $2.60 for second, and Offlee Fast returned $6.40 for third.
Completing the order of finish were Symphony Forty One, boy of Summer, Padilla, Statutorial, and Gotta Be Fate.
$85,000 FOOLISH PLEASURE STAKES
After winning the first stakes race of the day, jockey Jeffrey Sanchez went on to capture his second win in the Foolish Pleasure aboard Jacks or Better Farm, Inc.’s Best Plan Yet. The Foolish Pleasure serves the prep race for the In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
As the post-time favorite, Best Plan Yet started the race near the back of the pack, but was able to move into third. A bump with Copa Del Rey nearing the quarter pole allowed Best Plan Yet to move into second. Copa Del Rey weakened after the bump and fell into third, while Union Cash held the lead at 24-1 until they reached the stretch.
Best Plan Yet rallied with Union Cash to gain the lead just inside the eighth pole, and held on to win by a length.
“Every other time, I followed one horse, and he doesn’t like that,” said Sanchez. “I said okay, I’ll take him back this time by 6 or 7 lengths then make one move and he came good.”
Best Plan Yet returned $4.80, $3.20, and $2.40 for the win. Union Cash paid $12.20 and $8 for second, and Copa Del Rey returned $6.80 for third.
Completing the order of finish were Brothersofthetime, East Hall, D N A Approved, The Battle Is On, Black Label.
$85,000 BRAVE RAJ STAKES
Pinnacle Racing, H.J. Hendricks, and R. Justice’s Holiday Magic beat a field of familiar runners to win the $85,000 Brave Raj Stakes - the prep race for the My Dear Girl division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
“We had a little trouble throttling her down,” said winning trainer Bill Kaplan. “That’s why we went in this mile race because she couldn’t relax. Now that we got her to relax, I think she’ll get any distance.”
After a tightly contested opening quarter, the 2-year-old filly stalked the pace before jockey Juan Leyva made the swing out for the stretch run. Holiday Magic ducked in and rallied to emerge from the rest of the field down the stretch, taking the lead ahead of Quinnkat and holding on to win by four and a quarter lengths.
“I really wasn’t worried about anybody in there,” said Leyva. “I thought I had the best horse in the race. I just had to get her relaxed and in a comfortable stride, and that’s pretty much what I did.”
“Juan did a good job in the morning and it showed today,” said Kaplan.
Holiday Magic returned $14.40, $6.20, and $3.20 for the win. Quinnkat paid $5.00 and $3.60 for second, and Scripture ‘n Verse paid $4.40 to show.
Completing the order of finish were Flat Out Charming, Look of a Star, Light Bringer, Maura’s Purse, and Cambiata.
$70,000 JUDY’S RED SHOES STAKES
Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Sophia, trained by Kirk Ziadie, battled down the stretch to win the $70,000 Judy’s Red Shoes Stakes with Antonio Gallardo aboard. This was the second stakes win for Dreaming of Sophia, and the first turf win for the filly. The Judy’s Red Shoes serves as the prep race for the Francis A. Genter Stakes.
“This was her first time on turf and she did good,” said Gallardo. “When I breezed the filly, Kirk (Ziadie) asked me if she liked the turf or not. I told him I don’t know if she likes it, but she moved well. She is a good filly; she runs on the turf, on the dirt, short, long, everything.”
After getting a good start out of the gate, the 3-year-old filly stalked the pace at fourth before emerging around the turn to contest Nikki Starshine alongside Dreamlicious. It was a three-way battle down the stretch before Dreaming of Sophia pulled ahead down the line to take the win by one length over Nikki Starshine.
Dreaming of Sophia returned $6.00, $3.80, and $3.00 for the win. Nikki Starshine paid $5.00 and $3.60 for second, and Dreamlicious paid $7.80 to show.
Completing the order of finish were By Channel Eleven, Swinger’s Party, Triple Arch, Love to Score, Arriba Anna, Fab Flowers, My Lady Lauren, Burning Truth, and Sharapova Slams.
The 22nd annual Festival of the Sun will be held on Saturday, October 12. The Festival features a stakes-filled day, highlighted by the conclusion of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, with both the $300,000 estimated In Reality Division and its juvenile filly counterpart, the $300,000 My Dear Girl Division, to be run over 1 1/16 miles on the main track.