Dad'z Laugh. Daring Kathy Take $75,000 Features
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Watching Saturday’s back-to-back stake races at Gulfstream, many may have thought they were watching a race replay on repeat.
Both the $75,000 Honey Ryder and the $75,000 Big Drama stakes were won by favored front-running bay horses in gate-to-wire fashion – not to mention, both winners broke from the rail.
Daring Kathy and Dad’z Laugh were the victors of the two afternoon features, which were named after former Gulfstream Park superstars Honey Ryder, two-time winner of the Orchid Handicap (G2), and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) Champion and Mr. Prospector (G3) winner Big Drama.
Ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Dad’z Laugh broke a streak of four straight runner-up finishes in the 6 ½-furlong Big Drama, sprinting home to win by 2 ¾ lengths over Risk Factor. The 4-year-old Florida-bred son of Black Mambo and the Forest Wildcat mare Whispered Love had to face the likes of stakes winners Happy My Way and Ribo Bobo in his previous three races, but without those two accomplished foes in the field, it was his turn to shine.
“He’s a sprinter who’s run with the toughest sprinting horses in the nation,” trainer Dubis Chaparro said. “He was much the best. I’m very pleased and happy.”
Chaparro credited a cut back in distance with Dad’z Laugh’s recent string of strong performances. The colt has yet to be worse than second since he started running exclusively in sprints in 2014.
“He’s a tremendous racehorse,” Chaparro said. “I dropped him back to the short distance, and he gave to us what we were hoping for. He’s very tough, with a big heart, big everything.”
David Fawkes, Big Drama’s former trainer, presented the trophy to winning owner A. Bianco Holding. But Fawkes had a trophy of his own to accept in the Honey Ryder, when his 3-year-old filly Daring Kathy impressed, crossing the wire 3 ¾ lengths in front of Marnesia Wild Heir and Florida Sun.
Daring Kathy was making just her second start on the grass after making a successful transition to the surface on March 29th. Although the filly debuted on dirt, Fawkes said her pedigree had him thinking she’d do well on turf.
“She’s come from a family of turf runners, and me and Mr. Eaton (John Eaton, co-owner of Daring Kathy) had talked about wanting to run her on the turf,” Fawkes said. “It kind of came to a point where we got pushed into the corner, so we said, ‘OK, time for turf.’ ”
Daring Kathy set quick fractions in the 1 1/16th-mile race, running the first quarter in 22.41 seconds, a pace that had Fawkes a little concerned.
“I didn’t really care for the first couple jumps out of the gate,” Fawkes said. “I thought [jockey Abdiel Jaen] asked her and I didn’t really want him to, but once he got her out of there and in the clear, he was able to rate her, and she did well and did everything right. The finish was very impressive.”
In three career starts, Daring Kathy had never run farther than 7 ½ furlongs, but the extra distance proved to be no problem for the daughter of Wildcat Mambo and Dare to Mambo (by Kingmambo), despite the fast pace. Her run had Jaen excited.
“[Fawkes] told me to go to the front, but I didn’t think she’d open up like that,” he said. “She’s one of the best fillies I’ve ever ridden.”