Charlie's Wish Wins $75,000 Azalea
Sunday, July 23, 2023
    HALLANDALE BEACH - Royalight Racing’s Charlie’s Wish, who came up just short of earning stakes credentials in the Game Face while finishing second behind Flakes last time out, rallied to take the lead in the Gulfstream Park stretch Saturday and kept on going this time to impressively capture the $75,000 Azalea Stakes.

    In addition to earning her first stakes victory with a 4 ¾-length decision over Flakes in the seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds, the David Fawkes-trained daughter of First Dude collected a $25,000 FTBOA bonus available to a Florida-bred winner. With the victory, First Due passed the $24.9 million mark in lifetime earnings. 

    Charlie’s Wish ($6) settled off the pace set by her Fawkes-trained stablemate Trust Me, the 6-5 favorite, and pressed by Flakes and Kikilove along the backstretch and around the far turn. As Edgard Zayas challenged Trust Me aboard Flakes entering the stretch, Charlie’s Wish loomed suddenly to their outside with a wide sweep under Leonel Reyes. Flakes kicked away from the tiring Trust Me, but was not a match for Charlie’s Wish, who drew off with authority.

   “She’s just getting better and better. The older she gets, the better she gets,” Fawkes said.

    Charlie’s Wish, whose only off-the-board finish in her eight prior starts came around two turns, ran seven furlongs in 1:24.01. Flakes finished second, 4 ¼  lengths clear of Trust Me.

    In the race before the Azalea, Gentry Farms’ Second I D remained undefeated with a gutsy 2 ¼-length victory in a 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained son of Maclean’s Music, who graduated with ease while winning his June 9 debut by 7 ¾ lengths, had to dig deep to prevail over runner-up Slim Slow Slower. 
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