HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jerry Bozzo has earned a measure of celebrity during Flutterby’s successful 2015 campaign that has put her breeder/owner/trainer’s name into Thoroughbred racing’s record book.
When Flutterby cavorted to a sensational 9 ¼-length victory in the Sea Lily at Gulfstream Park May 30, Bozzo, a 94-year-old Renaissance man, became the oldest trainer to win a stakes race.
The ageless civil engineer, aeronautical engineer, World War II Veteran, businessman, aspiring author and horseman certainly derived satisfaction in the success of the 4-year-old filly he bred, owns and trains. However, the Pembroke Pines resident is, most of all, proud of Flutterby.
“I read articles about how special it was and unusual it was what I was doing, but during the process, I never thought about me being in the formula at all – except to say that she was my horse, my little girl,” Bozzo said. “I really didn’t think about setting records or longevity. It’s not about me. It’s all about her, really.”
Flutterby will have the opportunity once again to make Bozzo proud Saturday in the $75,000 Gold Mover Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of Congrats is expected to be a prohibitive favorite over six rivals in the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.
After winning the Sea Lily under a hand ride from a motionless Luca Panici, Flutterby stepped up to Grade 2 stakes company in the $250,000 Princess Rooney at Gulfstream July 5. After setting a contested pace, she held gamely through the stretch to finish second, 1 ¾ lengths behind favored New York shipper Merry Meadow and 2 ½ lengths ahead of Kiss to Remember, a next-out stakes winner who is being pointed to the Ballerina (G1) Aug. 29 at Saratoga.
“She did everything but win. She showed tremendous courage, I thought,” Bozzo said. “I was so pleased with her.”
Bozzo was particularly pleased with Flutterby’s performance while taking into consideration that the skittish filly’s stable goat had passed away five days before the Princess Rooney. The Florida-bred filly has continued to train sharply for her return engagement.
“She’s doing surprisingly good – surprisingly because she has a rather nervous temperament. Five days before that big race, her goat companion died and I expected her to be in mourning. Since that race, I’ve looked for signs, but she seems to be very much a more relaxed and laid-back filly,” Bozzo said. “In a nutshell, she’s going very well.”
Whisper Hill Farm’s Ultimate Shopper, who finished fifth in the Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga July 29, has returned to Gulfstream Park for the Gold Mover. The Ralph Nicks-trained 5-year-old mare captured an optional claiming allowance by 3 ½ lengths at Gulfstream two starts back.
Celebrity Star, who captured the Sunrise Stakes at Gulfstream on May 3 before finishing off the board in the Sea Lily, is scheduled to challenge Bozzo’s filly again in the Gold Mover. The David Kassen-trained 5-year-old mare most recently finished second in the Bougainvillea Stakes on turf July 18.
Jose Garoffalo-trained Miss Darla, who is coming off back-to-back optional claiming allowance wins; Sandino Hernandez-trained Nesso, a graded stakes-placed filly who finished off the board in the Princess Rooney; trainer Marty Wolfson-trained stakes veteran Quiet Hour; and Gustavo Delgado-trained Distincta round out the field.