Stanley Gold knows he’ll have his hands full Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where he’ll be saddling a formidable contingent of a half-dozen 2-year-olds set to contest the Florida Sire Stakes.
But the thoroughbred trainer is hardly complaining.
“I’m kind of happy with all six of them and just hope it’s not a disappointing day,” Gold said.
Given Gold’s history in the event, it probably won’t be.
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Gold has saddled more winners in the event, formerly known as the Florida Stallion Stakes, than any trainer in history. Gold’s 15 wins in the series is one more than the 14 recorded by legendary South Florida horseman Frank Gomez.
“It means a lot to me, but I keep it in perspective,” Gold said of the record. “It’s a Florida record, but it’s a record nonetheless.”
Gold will be sending out four horses in the $350,000 In Reality Division of the Sire Stakes, including 3-1 favorite Twotwentyfive A. Earlier on the card, he has two going in the $350,000 My Dear Girl Division for fillies, including 5-2 favorite Leap Year Luck.
All six horses are owned and bred by Jacks or Better Farm, Inc., which has had a successful history in the event restricted to Florida-bred 2-year-olds.
“It’s kind of like the high point of the year for us,” Gold said of the series.
Though the Sire Stakes is a restricted event, it has produced a number of horses that have gone on to succeed on the national stage, including Holy Bull, Smile, Jackson Bend and Awesome Feather. Gold trained the latter two.
Gold said he is not trying to look that far ahead with any of the 2-year-olds he plans to send out Saturday.
“I’m not even going to go past tomorrow,” he said.
But he likes his chances in the two 1 1/16-mile stakes.
Leap Year Luck won the opening leg of the filly division of the Sire Stakes, the 6-furlong Desert Vixen Division, before being narrowly edged by Holywell (7-2 on the morning line for the My Dear Girl) in the second leg, the 7-furlong Susan’s Girl. The other Gold filly, Awesome Ice, closed late in the Susan’s Girl to finish fourth.
Twotwentyfive A earned favorite status off his neck victory in the 7-furlong Affirmed Division of the Sire Stakes. Gold is also sending out front-running Sing Praises (4-1), Southern Barbecue (12-1) and Hear That Tune (6-1) in the In Reality.
Southern Barbecue is a full brother to Jackson Bend, who won the same race in 2009.
“I’d rather have four chances than one,” Gold said. “I like all four of them. They’re kind of a versatile mix [of running styles].”
If Gold’s horses are successful Saturday, then he’ll begin to think ahead to their 3-year-old campaigns in 2015, when high-caliber horses from the north are in South Florida cranking up for the Triple Crown.
“Then we’ll see how our horses fare against the national scene,” he said. “The ones that do are exceptions. But you have hopes and dreams.”