HALLANDALE BEACH, FL– Dogwood Trail didn’t get a chance to contest the Florida Sire Stakes as a 2-year-old, but the filly was quick to leave her mark on the series when an expansion resulted this year in the addition of two 3-year-old divisions. The Jacks or Better homebred gave the farm their 17th Florida Sire Stakes triumph Saturday, drawing off in the inaugural $150,000 Three Ring Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Entering the seven-furlong contest off a commanding win in the Azalea (G3) on July 5, trainer Stanley Gold warned horseplayers to ‘look out’ for Dogwood Trail in the Three Ring, and the chestnut filly made sure her conditioner was a man of his word.
After breaking alertly, jockey Jesus Rios harnessed the speed of the daughter of Awesome of Course, settling her just off the flanks of Get Away Farm’s Pursuing Fate as that filly went the first quarter-mile in 22.72 seconds, with Moment of Delight and R Sassy Lass just behind them, racing jointly in third and fourth. Approaching the half-mile pole, Eddie Castro urged R Sassy Lass to join the front-runners, increasing the pressure on Pursuing Fate through a half-mile in 45.37 seconds, but Rios was still sitting chilly on Dogwood Trail. At the top of the lane, Gold’s charge took command of the race; Rios did not ask his filly for run until they straightened for home. Dogwood Trail kicked clear to a 2 ½-length victory. The final time was 1:24.26.
Gold, pleased with the way the race unfolded, was quick to credit Rios for a masterful ride on his winning filly.
“She’ll do what you ask her,” he said of Dogwood Trail.“[Rios] rode a good race. He sat, he waited...he asked and she responded. She has tactical speed and he made the right decisions. He rode a picture perfect race.”
“I had a good trip,” Rios added.“I got off to a good start, stayed in second until the end when I got ahead and finished the race strong.”
In seven career starts, Dogwood Trail has yet to finish off the board at Gulfstream Park. With her Three Ring victory, she increased her win tally to four and her lifetime earnings to $270,510.
Dogwood Trail paid $2.40 to win as the heavily bet 1-5 favorite, but 70-1 shot Savingtime added value to the exacta by closing to get up for second, returning $20.00 to place, over Pursuing Fate ($3.80). R Sassy Lass, Moment of Delight, Lastingfriendships, Jamie’s Dancer and Holywell, who swept two of the three legs of last year’s Florida Sire Stakes filly division, completed the order of finish.
Yourdreamsormine, 35-1, Surprises FSS Unbridled Division
Seizing the lead only when it mattered most – at the wire – Yourdreamsormine, a 35-1 long shot, was a surprise winner of the inaugural $150,000 Florida Sire Stakes Unbridled division, the fifth of seven stakes on Saturday’s 12-race program at Gulfstream Park.
Under Juan Leyva, the 3-year-old son of Mr. Sekiguchi notched his first stakes victory in his stakes debut after rallying from dead last in a field of nine that included Sing Praises, who swept two of the three divisions of last year’s Florida Sire Stakes, and the stakes-placed Southern Barbecue. While Yourdreamsormine failed to make noise early, Wicked Rascal jumped out from the gate to set the pace, setting fractions of 22.5 seconds for the first quarter and 44.77 seconds for the half. At the top of the stretch, the Kathleen O’Connell trainee, entering the Unbridled off an assertive allowance victory on June 27, still had more to give; the gelding turned away challenges from Niconellie and Focus on Me. But Yourdreamsormine was being unraveled by Leyva; the colt circled the field at the top of the stretch and gained ground with every stride. Battling gamely along the inside, Wicked Rascal tried desperately to hold on, but Yourdreamsormine passed him at the race’s critical point. The margin of victory was a nose; the final time for the seven furlongs was 1:23.50.
"I was screaming, 'Get second, get second!'” Kaplan exclaimed. “I didn't think he was going to get there, but he got up in the last jump. It was a remarkable race. We didn't break great and he had to straighten him out, so Juan [Leyva] just sat on him and waited for a late run, and he came running.”
Yourdreamsormine, the most experienced runner in the field with 14 starts, entered the race off a runner-up finish in a $50,000 optional claimer on July 24, the colt’s first start with blinkers. Kaplan was pleased that the equipment helped the colt show more speed that day, but that was not the case Saturday. Nonetheless, the ultimate goal was achieved.
“[Kaplan] told me to just make sure he runs his race and not to place him anywhere,” Leyva said. “He said, ‘As long as he’s comfortable, let him be where he is going to be.' I was lagging him behind, I let him be very comfortable, and when it came down to run I picked him up a little and he responded nicely.”
“I didn't expect this, so I have no clue [what’s next for him],” Kaplan said.“But I'm so happy for (owner) Ione Elkins, because Mr. (Herb) Elkins passed away recently. She's got the horses now and I'm thrilled for her. This couldn't have happened to a nicer lady."
Yourdreamsormine paid $73.60 to win, while Wicked Rascal returned $5.60 to place. Niconellie secured third ($7.80), followed by Focus on Me, Southern Barbecue, Wildcatter’s Gold, Sing Praises, Hear That Tune and Saraguaro.