HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Coffeepot Stables’ Flora Dora broke through with her maiden victory at the most opportune occasion Saturday, capturing the $500,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Sire Series at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of First Dude also provided trainer Marialice Coffey with her first stakes success and her first victory from 18 starters in 2015, scoring by 1 ½ lengths under Matthew Rispoli in the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies sired by accredited Florida stallions. The My Dear Girl and the $500,000 In Reality co-featured Saturday’s 12-race program featuring the $1.3 million Florida Sire Stakes 2015 finale.
Flora Dora ($20.40) arrived at Gulfstream Monday from Saratoga, where she finished sixth after pressing the early pace in her seven-furlong career debut on Sept. 6.
“Since the beginning of time, since they broke her, they had this race picked for her and so they were going on with this one,” Coffey said. “Even though we didn't do what we wanted to do at Saratoga, we at least wanted to keep up with the plan and come here and the rest is history.”
While others in the nine-horse field, including 8-5 favorite Ballet Diva, were unsuccessful in performing at their best at 1 1/16 miles, Flora Dora flourished with the added distance and second turn to come through with a strong stretch drive.
Ballet Diva, the winner of the $300,000 (FSS) Susan’s Girl Division, and It’s High Time, who captured the $200,000 (FSS) Desert Vixen Division, were ridden aggressively out of the starting gate and raced 1-2 around the first turn and along the backstretch through fractions of 23.54 seconds and 47.29. Flora Dora settled off the pace along the backstretch and started to advance on the far turn, as the pacemakers came back to the field. It’s High Time took over the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch but was quickly passed to her outside by Enterprising Lady and jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who appeared on their way to victory approaching mid-stretch. However, Flora Dora, who raced in traffic on the final turn, suddenly loomed dangerous on the far outside and drew off in the final yards.
“She broke good. I just let her settle and go at her own pace. When I got to the 5/8ths pole, they started backing up to me. I was a little worried I was going to start clipping heels, and around the far turn, I started clipping heels,” Rispoli said. “I was looking for a hole and I couldn't find one until we straightened down the lane. I just tucked her outside and she just ran.”
Aurora Racing’s Enterprising Lady finished second, 3 ½ lengths ahead of Silent Prayer. Ballet Diva faded to sixth.
Flora Dora, a $87,000 yearling purchased, collected $300,000 for her maiden victory, negotiated in 1:47.22.
"We had faith in her,” Coffee said. “She's a big, very well-within-herself filly. She's always been very relaxed about everything, so we thought it was worth a try."