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Cajun Firecracker Upsets Fully Loaded in Dr. Fager

Aug 4, 2018
Sire Cajun Breeze Beats Odds Florida Sire Stakes Opener   

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Shadybrook Farm’s Cajun Firecracker upset heavily favored Fully Loaded in Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes. Trainer Michael Yates’ homebred colt scored at odds of 7-1, a small price compared to the odds that were stacked against his sire Cajun Breeze’s stallion career.
A tough-as-nails warrior who had amassed earnings of nearly $250,000 prior to his 2015 retirement, Cajun Breeze never won a stakes during his 32-race career but became a stakes-winning sire Saturday when his son crossed the finish line a neck ahead of the 3-5 favorite in the six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Yates, who campaigned Cajun Breeze, took a chance to give the son of Congrats a chance at stud, breeding a lot of his mares to him, including Clara Bow, Cajun Firecrackers dam.
“We owned the mare – she ran a little up the east coast – she’s a pretty mare. She had some talent but had some issues as a race horse so we just bred her,” Yates said.
Cajun Firecracker, whose only experience was a two-length triumph in an April 13 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream, stalked the pace set by Jackson and pressed by Fully Loaded along the backstretch before advancing on the far turn. Fully Loaded took over the lead under Edgard Zayas leaving the turn into the homestretch as his pacesetting stablemate Jackson tired, appearing on his way to his third victory in three starts. However, Cajun Firecracker kicked in through the stretch under Miguel Vasquez and wore down a tiring Fully Loaded, who drifted out into the Yates homebred nearly the finish.
“I thought we would stalk the speed because she was on the outside. I was thankful to be outside of it because [Fully Loaded] is a pretty good horse,” Yates said. “The racing Gods were with us today.”

Cajun Firecracker needed to survive a foul claim by Tyler Gaffalione, who finished a fast-closing third aboard Garter and Tie. Although Cajun Firecracker drifted slightly into the path of Garter and Tie, the stewards determined that Fully Loaded had initiated the incident and disqualified the favorite and placed him third behind Garter and Tie.
Cajun Firecracker ran six furlongs in 1:09.94, a final time built on fractions of 22:08 (seconds), 44.80 and 56.96.
The next leg of the Florida Sires Stakes is set for Sept. 1, when the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies will be contested at seven-furlongs.

Note: Total handle on Gulfstream’s Sire Stakes program was $9.576 million, a 13-percent increase over last year’s handle of $8.433. Handle on the opening leg of the Sire Stakes has risen each of the last four years when $6.244 million was wagered in 2015.  

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