$100,000 Dr. Fager, Desert Vixen On Tap Saturday
HALLANDALE BEACH - The FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, annual centerpiece of the Spring/Summer Meet at Gulfstream Park, will get underway Saturday, bringing together the brightest 2-year-old prospects sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
The $100,000 Dr. Fager and the $100,000 Desert Vixen for fillies, both to be contested at six furlongs, will co-headline the first legs of the series that will continue on Aug. 29 with the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, both slated for seven furlongs. The finales will be contested on Sept. 26 with the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies, both to be run at 1 1/16 miles. The Sept. 26 program will also include the $150,000 Wildcat Heir for 3-year-olds and up.
The Florida Sire Stakes has a rich history dating back to 1982, when it was created by Ocala breeder Dan Lasater, a four-time national leading owner. The six-race series has produced six Eclipse Award winners: Awesome Feather (2010 Juvenile Filly), Big Drama (2010 Sprint), Holy Bull (1994 Horse of the Year and 3-Year-Old Male), Smile (1986 Sprint), Brave Raj (1986 Juvenile Filly) and Not Surprising (1995 Sprint).
The Dr. Fager and the Desert Vixen are both expected to attract deep fields with likely starters trained by several high-profile trainers, including Todd Pletcher, Ralph Nicks, Eddie Plesa Jr. and Kathleen O’Connell.
Pletcher, who has maintained a stable at Gulfstream during the Spring/Summer Meet, is expected to be represented by J A G Racing and Jettany Thoroughbred Corp.’s Son of a Beast in the Dr. Fager and A I A Racing’s Tamiami in the Desert Vixen. Son of a Beast, a son of The Big Beast, withstood race-long pressure to capture his June 24 debut in front-running fashion. Tamiami, a daughter of Rattlesnake Bridge, overcame a horrific start to capture her June 21 debut with a furious late run, completing six furlongs in 1:09.1.
Son of a Beast will again be sternly tested in the Dr. Fager, which is the goal for Stonehedge LLC’s Big Daddy Dave and Arindel’s Gatsby. The Nicks-trained Big Daddy Dave, a son of Khozan, is coming off a 2 ¾-length romp in his May 30 debut, completing five furlongs in 58.88. Juan Alvarado’s Gatsby, a homebred son of Brethren, captured his May 17 debut, upsetting Wesley Ward-trained Golden Pal, who went on to finish second in the Gr. II Norfolk at Royal Ascot.
Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Famous Gent, a son of Big Dude who broke his maiden June 5 with a 58.87 five-furlong clocking, enters Florida Sire Stakes competition off a troubled third-place finish behind undefeated Papetu in the first juvenile allowance of the Spring/Summer Meet.
Pletcher-trained Tamiami is also expected to have some tough competition in the Desert Vixen, including trainer/owner Dan Pita’s Princess Secret and Joseph Imbesi’s Social Exclusion. Princess Secret romped to a four-length victory in her May 7 debut. The daughter of Khozan came back to finish second against the boys, closing to within 1 ½ lengths of Papetu after being bumped hard at the start. Steve Klesaris-trained Social Exclusion, a daughter of Gulfstream Park record holder Social Inclusion, turned in a dazzling debut performance while scoring a 4 ¾-length front-running victory.