Florida Stallion Stakes

Florida Stakes finale at Calder Race Course is a memorable one


Special to the Miami Herald

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell and owner Gilbert Campbell on Saturday made it halfway through their quest for an unprecedented dual sweep in the Florida Stallion Stakes series for 2-year-olds.

Scandalous Act gave them one sweep at Calder Casino & Race Course when she romped to victory in the $300,000 My Dear Girl Stakes — the third leg in the fillies division.

Thirty minutes later, My Brown Eyed Guy’s bid for a sweep in the male division ended with a ninth- and last-place finish in the $300,000 In Reality.

Best Plan Yet won the race in eye-popping style. He took the lead entering the far turn and coasted to a 5 3/4-length win over Purchango.

My Brown Eyed Guy was in second place after a half mile in the 1 1/16-mile dirt race. His previous longest race was the seven-furlong Affirmed Stakes, a Stallion Stakes race Sept. 14.

O’Connell said there was no apparent injury to My Brown Eyed Guy, adding that the longer distance might have been a factor in his disappointing showing.

“He seems like he will be fine,” O’Connell said. “Maybe he will need the turf. He seemed like he would be fine [Saturday] morning.”

O’Connnell and Campbell were attempting to become the first trainer-owner team to sweep both Florida Stallion Stakes divisions in the same year.

The prospect of a double sweep was part of a day with a hail and farewell atmosphere at Calder, which has been the site of the Stallion Stakes since its start in 1982.

The series will move to Gulfstream Park for 2014 and be renamed the Florida Sire Stakes. There are widespread expectations that Gulfstream will become the permanent home of the series.

When it announced the switch Sept. 5, the sponsoring Florida Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association said it expects that Gulfstream will do more than Calder in marketing and promoting the series to local and national fans.

“It’s kind sad to see the Stallion Stakes leave Calder,” O’Connell said.

“Around the country, Florida is known as a breeding ground for 2-year-old racing, and Calder has played a big role in developing 2-year-olds,” she said.

The Stallion Stakes races are restricted to sons and daughters of Florida-based stallions that are nominated for the series.

The series’ apparent finale at Calder was won by a horse whose trainer, Stan Gold, and owner, Fred Brei, have had huge success in it since 2008.

They swept the male division with Jackson Bend in 2008 and with Fort Loudon in 2011 and the fillies with Awesome Feather in 2019.

Best Plan Yet finished second in the first two races in the Stallion Stakes male division.

On Sept, 17, he won the Foolish Pleasure at one mile and 70 yards at Calder.

He won the In Reality in 1:47.90 under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez.

“We had an ideal trip and won easier than we expected,” Gold said.

Brei said he will consider running Best Plan Yet in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.

Scandalous Act won the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl in 1:48.23 and was ridden by Eduardo Nunez.

Campbell said that he will consider Scandalous Act for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 2.

Turf Stakes

Calder also had two turf stakes on its annual Festival of the Sun card.

Amen Kitten beat Midnight Cello by a head in the $70,000 Tropical Park Derby at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds.

Juan Delgado rode Amen Kitten, who won in 1:49.81 on a course listed as firm.

The win was the first in a stakes for Amen Kitten, who is trained by Wesley Ward and owned by Kenn and Sarah Ransey.

E B Ryder beat Triple Arch by 1 1/2 lengths in the $70,000 France Genter Stakes at one mile for 3-year-old fillies.

E B Ryder won in 1:36.50 and was ridden by Jilver Chamafi. She is trained by Marty Wolfson.

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