R Harper Rose Preps for Sire Stakes With Sharp Debut Score
Sunday, August 6, 2023
   HALLANDALE BEACH  – Averill Racing LLC and Two Eight Racing LLC’s R Harper Rose stamped herself as a hot prospect for the upcoming FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series with a sizzling front-running debut victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

    R Harper Rose, who sported an eye-catching worktab heading into the 5 ½-furlong dash for 2-year-old fillies, set fractions of 21.84 and 44.57 for the first half-mile over a sealed muddy track on her way to a final clocking in 1:04.11. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained daughter of Khozan finished 6 ¼ lengths clear of Haunted under jockey Edgard Zayas.

    “I worked her last week out of the gate, and she was fast,” Zayas said. “I wasn’t expecting anything less than that. I was hoping she would win like that – pulling away – and she did. She’s Florida-bred by a Florida stallion, so hopefully we have a good one for those races.”

    The FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series kicks off at Gulfstream Sept. 9 with the $100,000 Desert Vixen (fillies) and $100,000 Dr. Fager (open), a pair of six-furlong sprints for 2-year-olds sired by a nominated stallion standing in Florida. The series continues Oct. 21 with the $200,000 Susan’ Girl (Fillies) and $200,000 Affirmed (open), both at seven furlongs) and Dec. 2 with the $300,000 My Dear Girl (fillies) and $300,000 In Reality (open), both at 1 1/16 miles.

    BC Racing LLC’s Haunted, a FSS-eligible daughter of Khozan, rallied to finish second over Corinne and William Heiligbrodt’s Etrurian, a daughter of Bucchero who is also eligible for the FSS series.

    Zayas returned in Race 6 to guide Laurie Plesa and Donald Mensh’s Raging Fury to a debut victory in a 5 ½ furlong maiden special weight race for Florida-bred 2-year-olds. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained son of Ami’s Flatter rallied from several lengths back to catch Love Unlimited Thoroughbreds Ltd.’s Arrogancy by a neck. Raging Fury is not eligible for the FSS series.

    Raging Fury, the 4-5 favorite, was the seventh of eight winners in the last two days for Zayas, who won four races each day. In addition to his successes aboard R Harper Rose and Raging Fury, he also visited the winner’s circle Saturday with the Joseph-trained Preemption in Race 3 and Plesa-trained Rockin Roller in Race 7.

    “Thankfully, I’ve been doing good. I’ve been getting a lot of good opportunities,” said Zayas, who has a 26-percent strike rate during the Royal Palm Meet. “I haven’t been traveling much lately. I’ll be around for the next several weeks, so hopefully we can keep rolling.”



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