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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Monarch Stables Inc’s 2-year-old filly Last Leaf handling the turf and defeating the boys in the $75,000 Hollywood Beach Stakes headlined the results of Saturday’s Gulfstream Park stakes action.
The card also included a trio of FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Series events: the $125,000 Wildcast Heir, the $400,000 My Dearl Girl, and the $400,000 In Reality.
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Trainer Ron Spatz admits he didn’t know how Last Leaf would handle the turf in the Hollywood Beach.
“My legs are tired. I’ve been doing a rain dance for three days,” said Spatz, whose filly won twice on the main track before facing colts and geldings in the Hollywood Beach. “They tell me (her) top and bottom (pedigree) is good for (turf), but she has small feet, so I really didn’t know.”
Any doubts Spatz might have had were erased when Last Leaf drove past a game Nerve in the final 1/16 to win the Hollywood Beach by a head. Barone Cesco was a fast-closing third, another head behind Nerve.
A daughter of Not This Time who has now won 3 of 5 starts, Last Leaf covered a ‘good’ 5-furlong course in :57.46 after chasing Nerve past fractions of :22.32 and :45.40. The filly has won at 5 1/2 furlongs on a fast track, 6 furlongs on a sloppy track, and on the turf.
“I told (the owners) ‘You have an all-terrain vehicle now. That’s a good thing,’” Spatz said.
In the $125,000 Wildcat Heir, Rodney Lundock’s Pro Quality, a 4-year-old gelding trained by Ralph Catanese and ridden by Luca Panici, drove past Shivaree inside the final 1/16-pole to win by a head.
Pro Quality, a son of Exclusive Quality, came into the Wildcat Heir off third-place finishes in the City of Dania and the Benny The Bull. Panici raced fourth down the backstretch past fractions of :23.91 and :46.91 before Panici moved Pro Quality three-wide entering the stretch and driving to the finish.
Pro Quality has won 4 races while placing first, second, or third in 11 of his 13 starts.
Noble Drama, Well Defined, Garter and Tie, and pacesetter Old Time completed the order of finish.
LNJ Foxwoods’ Outfoxed, a record-setting stakes winner to break her maiden last month, followed up with another eye-catching performance to earn a second straight stakes victory in Saturday’s $400,000 My Dear Girl at Gulfstream Park.
The My Dear Girl for fillies and $400,000 In Reality for colts and geldings, both going 1 1/16 miles, co-headlined the final leg of the tradition-rich FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series for juveniles sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Breaking from the rail against seven rivals as the 1/5 favorite in her two-turn debut, Outfoxed ($2.40) completed the distance in 1:47.34 over a fast main track to win by 9 1/4 lengths over 25/1 longshot Veiled Prophet. She was a 13 1/2-length winner of the $200,000 Susan’s Girl August 28 at Gulfstream, the largest margin in race history.
“She’s certainly done good things for us in the last 30 days, that’s for sure,” trainer Bill Mott said. “She beat this group easily enough. We know the water can always get deeper.”
Outfoxed had a much different trip under meet-leading rider Edgard Zayas than her previous start, when she balked at the starting gate before loading and then raced outside horses in the 7-furlong Susan’s Girl. Her unveiling came in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight sprint July 15 at Saratoga, where she ran third.
“The first time coming down to Florida last time, she was a little nervous, but they schooled her in the morning after the race and they said she was doing awesome. The gate crew knew her already and she was really nice in the gate. She actually was a little sharp today,” Zayas said. “(Judging by) the way she won last time, and I think she has a lot of class, I was pretty confident she was going to handle the distance pretty good.”
Susan’s Girl runner-up Devilette was once again out on the lead under Cristian Torres and tracked by My Sassenach (third in the Susan’s Girl) and Cajun Cousin, while Zayas and Outfoxed found themselves hemmed in along the rail in fourth by 30/1 longshot Sequin Lady midway down the backstretch.
As the field approached the far turn, Zayas was able to put Outfoxed in the clear four-wide and the daughter of Valiant Minister responded by closing in quickly on the leaders. She overtook My Sassenach at the midpoint of the turn and straightened for home with an open lead that expanded through the stretch under a hand ride and ultimately geared down nearing the wire.
“Last time, she was on the outside and I had a clean trip the whole race, and it was a little shorter, so the pace was a little faster. Today, the pace was a little slower, and going two turns, I really didn’t want to put her out there on the lead,” Zayas said. “She was the target of the race (so) I wasn’t going to go against her. I just wanted to cover up a little bit and then put her in the clear and let her do her thing. She did awesome.”
Outfoxed, who fetched $360,000 at the 2020 OBS October sale, is only the second horse to represent Mott in the FSS series. The other, Inner Light, finished seventh in the 2017 In Reality. She has been with Mott’s former assistant, Gulfstream-based trainer Ralph Nicks, since the Susan’s Girl.
“She’s been training good and put on some weight,” Nicks said. “She’s a nice horse, plain and simple. The real boss is going to have a lot of fun with her.”
Mott was unsure whether the Breeders’ Cup in November at Del Mar could be on the horizon for Outfoxed.
“I think I’d have to talk to the powers that be. We’ll talk to the owners and managers,” he said. “That would be a big step, but we’ll see what they want to do. I couldn’t answer that question right now myself.”
Arindel’s Octane overpowered his opposition at Gulfstream Park Saturday with a gutsy front-running victory in the $400,000 In Reality, the open-division finale of the 2021 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes.
Coming off a front-running score in the $200,000 Affirmed, the 7-furlong second leg of the lucrative series for Florida-sired juveniles, Octane offered a repeat performance while carrying his natural speed around two turns for the first time.
The homebred son of Brethren broke alertly from his #7 post position to take the lead on the first turn and show the way along the backstretch, where he came under strong pressure to his outside by Cattin. Octane put away Cattin on far turn, where Cajun’s Magic, the Affirmed runner-up, launched his bid after saving ground behind the pacesetters.
The winner of the first leg of the FSS Series (the $100,000 Dr. Fager) kicked in through the stretch but was no match for Octane, the even-money favorite who scored by 1 3/4 lengths to win his third straight race since finishing second in his career debut.
The Carlos David-trained Octane ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.97 under Emisael Jaramillo. Cajun’s Magic, who was ridden by Jesus Rios, finished 6 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Cattin.
“I have plenty of confidence in Jaramillo. He’s a great rider. He’s one of the top jocks here in the summer and in the winter, as well. The plan was, obviously, he’s got speed, so we don’t want to take that away from him. Just break good, sit outside a little bit and whenever he wants to make the lead, let him do it and see where he goes,” David said. “He’s got that speed and every time you have a horse that goes to the lead, (distance) is always a question. I’m just glad he was able to do it. He’s got a lot of talent.”
Octane exceeded the early expectations of Arindel stable manager Brian Cohen with his impressive two-turn debut.
“It’s great. Carlos has done a great job. Back before we sent him to Carlos, he worked one time on the farm super-fast. I wanted to send him a good one. He’s a little horse and Carlos does great with these speed horses,” Cohen said. “I never thought that he’d be doing the mile and a sixteenth. He just gets out there and doesn’t stop. We’re so happy. We have the perfect rider for him. It was just a great effort and a great effort by those guys.”
By passing the two-turn test in the In Reality, his connections have reason to at least take a look at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar November 5.
“We’ll see how the numbers come back and we’ll talk to Carlos and see how we fit,” Cohen said. “No rush, but we’ll make a decision in the next week or so.”
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