Different racing venue.
Different stakes name.
But a most familiar winner’s circle scene.
Another 2-year-old owned by Jacks or Better Farm and trained by Stanley Gold — the chestnut Sing Praises — won the final and richest leg of the Florida Sire Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, the $350,000 In Reality.
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The same owner-trainer combo hooked up to win 15 previous legs of a series that was previously known as the Florida Stallion Stakes and conducted at Calder.
This was the first year the event was held at Gulfstream.
On Saturday, Sing Praises gave them their 16th win in the event, holding off Royal Squeeze at the wire to prevail by a nose.
Gold feared the photo would show a different result.
“I’m always doom and gloom in those situations unless it’s obvious,” the relieved trainer said after the photo showing his colt winning by a horse whisker. “So I was happily surprised.”
Sent off at odds of 5-1 in the field of 12, Sing Praises and jockey Ramsey Zimmerman took back off the pace in the 11/16-mile stakes before mounting their move in the stretch. It was a change of tactics for the colt, which had displayed front-running speed in his previous races.
“He rode him smart [Saturday],” Gold said of Zimmerman. “He was smart to stay out of [the early speed battle]. He sat and bided his time.”
After being overtaken in deep stretch, Royal Squeeze found an extra gear and made a final charge at Sing Praises. But it was too late.
“He fought all the way,” Zimmerman said of Sing Praises. “He stuck his head out at the right time at the finish.”
Gold said the colt is not nominated for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita next month and might head next to Louisiana for a stakes there.
But his long-range goal is the winter and spring meet at Gulfstream to find out how the colt stacks up with the top northern invaders.
“[We’re] certainly gearing up for Gulfstream [in the spring] and see how we match up with the national scene,” Gold said.
While the front-running tactics didn’t pay off for Sing Praises’ challengers in the In Reality Division, it was another story in the companion race for fillies — the My Dear Girl Division earlier on the card — where jockey Orlando Bocachica put Holywell on an uncontested lead at the start and held here there all the way to the wire.
Holywell crossed under the wire 11/4 lengths in front of 8-5 favorite Moment of Delight, who pursued her throughout the 11/16-mile stakes. It was another nine lengths further back to Awesome Ice.
The 2-year-old daughter of Exclusive Quality is a homebred for owner Tracy Pinchin and trained by her husband, Jose. Jose Pinchin said it was the biggest win of his training career, which began in Jamaica. He said he moved his training outfit to South Florida 13 years ago.
“I talked to Jose this morning and he said, ‘Try to go for the lead and see what happens,’” Bocachica said of his riding instructions. “We were on the rail, and we broke good, and we were able to slow it down. I started asking her a little on the turn, but we were never in trouble.”
Jose Pinchin said he has no intention of shipping the filly to California for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November. Instead, he said he will lower his sights and point for the Nov.22 Delta Princess Stakes at Louisiana’s Delta Downs.
Holywell was sent off at 4-1 odds.
The filly barely held on to win the second leg of the Sire Stakes series for fillies, the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl Division, by a nose. With what was her third win in five career races, Holywell boosted her career earnings total to $400,225.
▪ Gulfstream closed out its summer meet Saturday. On Wednesday, thoroughbred action in South Florida resumes at Gulfstream Park West, the track formerly known as Calder. That 40-day boutique meet will run through Nov.30.