HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold’s amazing domination of the Florida Sires Stakes series continued at Gulfstream Park Saturday, when Fellowship made a last-to-first move in a 14-horse field to score a 4 1/2-length triumph in the $500,000 In Reality Division.
Sent to post at 12-1, the son of Awesome of Course’s triumph gave his owner/breeder Fred Brei and Gold their record 18thsuccesses in the series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions. (Brei and Gold have also teamed for two victories in this year’s inaugural series for 3-year-olds).
The In Reality co-featured Saturday’s $1.3 million Florida Sire Stakes program with the $500,000 My Dear Girl Division.
Fellowship ($26) was unhurried by jockey Jose Caraballo at the start of the 1 1/16-mile FFS finale for 2-year-old colts and geldings, settling in last place in the bulky field around the first turn and halfway along the backstretch. Leaving the backstretch, the Florida-bred colt split horses and was swung to the outside to launch an eye-catching six-wide sweep of the field. Pacesetter Call to Honor, who showed the way from the start while being pressed by Danbury, sprinted to a clear lead leaving the turn into the stretch but was no match for the fresh legs of Fellowship, who drew away to a comfortable victory.
“He ran huge. I let him relax and when I was ready, I took him outside and he just exploded,” Caraballo said. “He went by everyone. He was in great shape thanks to Stanley Gold and [Fred Brei].”
Fellowship ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.13, finishing well clear of Jacks or Better stablemate Abercorn, who tracked the early pace and made a steady run in the stretch to finish second. Li’l Meatball closed along the inside to finish third, another 1 ¾ lengths back. Tribal Drama, the 2-1 favorite, never threatened during a 10th-place finish.
Fellowship broke his maiden at first asking with a four-length score May7. He came back to finish second in the Birdonthewire Stakes July 5, before finishing fifth in the $200,000 FSS Dr. Fager Division Aug. 8 and seventh Sept. 5 in the $300,000 FSS Affirmed Division, in which he raced with blinkers for the first time. In the In Reality, Fellowship gave him the kind of run he had hoped for in the Affirmed.
“In the last race, he broke good, and he took himself back to last. I thought it might have been blinkers. I talked to Jose [Caraballo] and I said, 'Should I take them off?' He said, ‘No,’” Gold said. “He said he had problems out of the gate and got eliminated, and he did come on late, and he was fifth that day. He didn't run badly, but he didn't run like I expected. This time, he laid back and he finished strong.”
Gold, who also saddled 9th-place finisher Brighton Lane, had saddled several Jacks or Better horses in the four FSS races on Saturday’s card but went into the In Reality with the most confidence.
“More than any of the other [horses] we ran, the distance suited these horses the best, we knew that,” Gold said. “The large field was a little worrisome with babies and everything new. You don't want to see a lot of traffic trouble. It worked good for us. It doesn't always, but this time it did.”
Fellowship is by Brei’s stallion Awesome of Course, who has been well represented in the Florida Sires Stakes the past few years.
“I've always liked his breeding, Awesome of Course has always been good to us,” Brei said. “He'll stay here and come back and run in the winter races for 3-year-olds. We race in Florida unless there's a compelling reason to race elsewhere.”