Sunday, August 30, 2020
HALLANDALE BEACH - Breeze On By led an astonishing 1-2-3-4 finish for Stonehedge Farm South at Gulfstream Park with a commanding 7 ½-length victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed, the second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes.
The seven-furlong Affirmed co-headlined Saturday’s program along with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, the seven-furlong stakes for fillies. They were supported by the $75,000 Proud Truth, a one-mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds, and the $75,000 Sharp Susan, a one-mile turf stakes for juvenile fillies. All four stakes were included in the six-race sequence of the Rainbow 6 on the day of a mandatory payout.
Trainer Ralph Nicks, who had saddled Breeze On By for a victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager in the first leg of the Sire Stakes four weeks earlier, won his fourth consecutive running of the Affirmed. The son of Cajun Breeze also gave Nicks his eighth Florida Sire Stakes success since 2016 while providing Gilbert Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm with a 15th victory in the tradition-rich series.
“I just feel blessed to be in Florida for seven years and win this many in the Series,” said Nicks, who captured the race in the previous three seasons with Soutache (2017), Garter and Tie (2018) and Liam’s Lucky Charm (2019). “I learned early on that you need to be a part of this and was lucky to have owners send me some talented horses and it's worked.”
The Nicks-trained Big Daddy Dave and Seazan finished second and third, while Top Boss, trained for Stonehedge by Kathleen O'Connell, finished fourth to round out the superfecta, which paid $245.30 for a dollar.
Breeze On By, now undefeated in three starts, ran seven furlongs in 1:22.75. Big Daddy Dave made a wide bid on the turn to finished second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of a late-rallying Seazan.
“They're nice horses," Nicks said. "Thank you to Stonehedge for sending us some great horses. We're lucky to work with such talented horses. Breeze On By was able to rate and sit there with Big Daddy Dave in the hunt and could have pushed if he needed to, but he will settle and follow if he needs to."
Breeze On By is scheduled to make his bid to become the fifth male to sweep the Florida Sire Stakes in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile series finale on Sept. 26. With a victory he would join Three Rules (2016), Sir Oscar (2003), Seacliff (1995) and Smile (1984). Smile went on to win an Eclipse Award as the country's leading sprinter as a 4-year-old in 1986.
“Doing this series is tough on them and we'll see," Nicks said. "There are two other horses in this race that ran well so nothing will be a gift, but it's nice to have a horse this talented and have those options in front of you.
Breeze On By earned $120,000 for the victory, boosting his total to $223,000 for three races. Big Daddy Dave collected $40,000 and raised his total to $83,000, while Seazan added $20,000 to his account, which now totals $74,090, and Top Boss earned $12,000 for a total of $51,850. The quartet picked up $194,000 of the $200,000 purse in the Affirmed, and as a group their earnings have swelled the Stonehedge coffers to the tune of $431,940 in the space of a few months.
The fifth-place finisher in the race was Arindel's Gatsby, the 5/2 second choice who took home the remaining $6,000.
While Breeze On By is a homebred by Stonehedge stallion Cajun Breeze, the other three are by Journeyman Stud's leading Sire, Khozan, in whom Stonehedge owns an interest. Big Daddy Dave and Top Boss are also homebreds, but Seazan was bred by Susan Kahn and was purchased by Stonehedge for $10,000 out of the 2019 OBS Winter sale.
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