Racing Program for Juveniles Yields Exciting Results
More Than $1 Million in Purses Given to Juveniles in 9 Weeks
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Nothing picks up the head of a trainer faster than the arrival of a 2-year-old with the power to revive dreams of future success.
No wonder spirits are running high on the Gulfstream Park backstretch, where approximately 450 juveniles are currently in training to participate in the historic Thoroughbred track’s burgeoning racing program for 2-year-olds. Add the juveniles stabled outside Gulfstream into the mix and great things can be expected from 2014’s Freshman Class.
Heading into the heart of Gulfstream’s summer meeting, this year’s crop of 2-year-olds has already distinguished itself as one with considerable potential with a long resume of standout performances.
Dekabrist, a son of Street Boss, has emerged as one of the most exciting juvenile prospects in the country with a pair of commanding victories. The Gennadi Dorochenko-trained colt debuted with a 15 ¼-length triumph while setting a Gulfstream track record for 4 ½ furlongs (51.31 seconds) on May 11. His quality was put to a stern test on June 14 in the first juvenile stakes of the year, the Kodiak Island, and he prevailed by 1 ½ lengths over I’m Venezuelan, a War Chant-sired first-out winner, with the look of a colt that wants to go longer.
“We are quickly establishing our 2-year-old program to be one of the best in the country,” Vice President of Racing P.J. Campo said. “We’ve had some talented juveniles break their maidens at our track these past two months and the races have featured full fields. Our 2-year-old program is still in its infancy, but with the upcoming Florida Sire Stakes and our desire to promote our 2-year-old program, we believe this will be a major component of our spring, summer and fall schedules moving forward.”
Since April 18, a total of 23 races for 2-year-olds have been run for more than $1 million in purses. The 24-race stakes schedule for the summer meeting that runs through Oct. 4 will include 10 stakes races for juveniles, six of those being run under the Florida Sire Stakes banner. Presented at Gulfstream Park for the first time in its rich history, the Florida Sire Stakes (formerly known as the Florida Stallion Stakes) has produced Eclipse champions Holy Bull (1994 Horse of the Year and 3-year-old), Awesome Feather (2010 juvenile filly), Big Drama (2010 sprint), Not Surprising (1995 sprint), Smile (1986 sprint) and Brave Raj (1986 juvenile filly).
The Florida Sire Stakes events are scheduled for Aug. 9 with the runnings of the $100,000 Desert Vixen (fillies) and the $100,000 Dr. Fager; Sept. 6 with the runnings of the $250,000 Susan’s Girl (fillies) and $250,000 Affirmed; and Oct. 4 with the runnings of the $350,000 My Dear Girl (fillies) and $350,000 In Reality.
One of the most exciting prospects for the Florida Sire Stakes debuted with an impressive victory for trainer Stanley Gold and breeder/owner Jacks or Bettor Farm, who have achieved unprecedented success in the series for juveniles sired by horses standing in the Sunshine State.
Dogwood Trail, a sire stakes-eligible daughter of Awesome of Course, surged to the lead at the top of the stretch and romped home to a 5 ¾-length victory on May 31, running 4 ½ furlongs in a swift 51.50 seconds.
Gold and Jacks or Better Farm campaigned Awesome Feather (2010), Jackson Bend (2009) and Fort Loudon (2011), all of whom swept their respective Florida Sire Stakes divisions.
The upcoming Florida Sires Stakes immediately came to trainer Bill Kaplan’s mind on his way to the Gulfstream winner’s circle last Saturday to celebrate Naval Command’s stunning debut victory.
“I sure wish she was Sire Stakes eligible,” lamented Kaplan, a longtime supporter of the program whose Florida-bred filly will still be eligible for Florida Owners Awards available in open-company.
Kaplan’s plans for the Florida-bred daughter of Midshipman still include Gulfstream Park where four open stakes for juveniles have been scheduled. The $75,000 Cassidy (fillies) and the $75,000 Birdonthewire are slated for July 12, while the $75,000 Our Dear Peggy (fillies) and the $75,000 Armed Forces are scheduled to be run on the turf course on Oct. 4.