Eligibility Figures Show Significant Increase in 2014
Series Adds Excitement to 2-Year-old Program
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL
– The Florida Sire Stakes series is scheduled to be renewed for the first time at Gulfstream Park this year, and there is already significant evidence that the new partnership will be a most successful one.
Formerly known as the Florida Stallion Stakes, the lucrative stakes program of six stakes for 2-year-olds sired by stallions standing in the Sunshine State has recorded a 19-percent increase in eligibility payments over 2013 figures. The series, which started in 1982, was moved to Gulfstream in cooperation with the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association (FTBOA) and Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association (FHBPA).
“The increase in eligibility can only be viewed as a positive sign for the future of the Florida Stallion Stakes at Gulfstream,” Gulfstream Park President Tim Ritvo said. “Gulfstream, along with the FTBOA and FHBPA, is committed to growing the Florida Sire Stakes with the intent to make it the country’s premier sire stakes event for 2-year-olds.”
A total of 476 horses have been made eligible to compete in the series that is slated to get underway on Aug. 9 with the running of the $100,000 Desert Vixen (fillies) and the $100,000 Dr. Fager, both at six furlongs. The $250,000 Susan’s Girl (fillies) and the $250,000 Affirmed, both at seven furlongs, are scheduled for Sept. 6, followed by the $350,000 My Dear Girl (fillies) and the $350,000 In Reality, both at 1 1/16 miles, on Oct. 4.
The six-race series has produced six Eclipse Award winners: Awesome Feather, the 2010 Juvenile Filly champion; Big Drama, the 2010 Sprint Champion; Holy Bull, the 1994 Horse of the Year and 3-year-old champion; Smile, the 1986 Sprint champion; Brave Raj, the 1986 Juvenile Filly champion; and Not Surprising, the 1995 Sprint champion.
With anticipation of a bigger and better Florida Sire Stakes, Gulfstream’s maiden races for 2-year-olds have created more excitement with handicappers and fans scouting out prospects for the series.
For instance, in Saturday’s sixth race, a $48,000 maiden special weight race for 2-year-olds, four horses have been nominated to the sires stakes program: Breezy Song, Cottina, Hot Flash and Jamie’s Dancer (also-eligible). Breezy Song is likely to be identified as the most serious prospect leading up to Saturday’s 4 ½-furlong race, being trained by Stanley Gold and owned by breeder Jacks or Better Farm.
Gold and Jacks or Better Farm have teamed for unprecedented Florida Sire Stakes success with the likes of Awesome Feather (2010), Jackson Bend (2009), Fort Loudon (2011), all of whom swept their respective divisions, and others.
Breezy Song, a son of Indy Wind, has worked sharply for his debut. Gold and Jacks or Better Farm unveiled Dogwood Trail, a sires stakes-eligible daughter of Awesome of Course, for an impressive debut victory at Gulfstream on May 31.