Set to Saddle Dashing David for Saturday’s Eight Miles East Stakes
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Saffie Joseph Jr. reached unprecedented heights in Barbados when he saddled Areutalkintome for a sweep of the 2009 Triple Crown. The third-generation horseman became the youngest to achieve the feat, encouraging the 22-year-old trainer to set loftier goals.
Two years later, Joseph decided to make a full-time commitment to training Thoroughbreds, which necessitated a move to another country.
“In Barbados, you race for fun, basically. You race for prestige,” he said. “They just run two times a month.”
Joseph, who was 18 when he saddled his first horse, ventured to South Florida to embark on his new full-time adventure, and he’s still having fun.
“I love it. This is my hobby. This is my business. I love it,” said Joseph, who has saddled 58 winners from 277 starters in the U.S. “This is the best game in the world.”
When Joseph decided to move his stable to South Florida, Sir David Seale, a prominent businessman and horse owner in Barbados, sent along a few horses to help him get started, and the association has endured. Saturday, Joseph is scheduled to saddle the Seale-owned Dashing David for a start in the $75,000 Eight Miles East, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up at Gulfstream Park.
Dashing David, who won three of 13 races for Seale and trainer Richard Hannon in England, was sent to Joseph last winter with the plan to run the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid once at Gulfstream to prep for a start in the Barbados Gold Cup on March 8.
“He was supposed to run in an allowance race, but it didn’t fill. So we were forced to run in the Mac Diarmida (G2), because he needed a prep for the Barbados Gold Cup,” Joseph said. “It was a crazy move, but it worked out well.”
Dashing David trailed the field while making his 2014 and U.S. debuts in the 1 /3/8-mile Mac Diarmida on Feb. 15. With a prep under his belt, the Irish-bred colt made the trip to Barbados for an attempt to give Seale his seventh Gold Cup winner, only to finish third in a field of 11 behind victorious Major Marvel, who also represented Gulfstream.
“It was exciting to run in the Gold Cup. I hadn’t been home for a year,” Joseph said. “My horse ran decent. It would have been better if he won, but it was good to be back home.”
Dashing David broke through with a winning performance in his next start, scoring a dominating 4 ¼-length victory in an entry-level allowance at Gulfstream on April 26. In his most recent start, he finished fourth in the Flying Pidgeon Stakes at Gulfstream on May 17.
“I don’t think he ran his best race that day. He got in a little tight. He didn’t like racing on the rail and basically just ran evenly,” Joseph said. “Coming into this race, he’s training really well. I expect him to run a good race.”
Jesus Rios is slated to ride Dashing David in the Eight Miles East, which attracted a field of 10, as well as a main-track-only entry, Black Diamond Cat.
Antonio Sano-trained Grand Tito, who finished second in the Skip Trial Stakes on Gulfstream’s main track last weekend, will wheel right back for a return to turf in the Eight Miles East. David Fawkes-trained Padilla, who finished one position ahead of Dashing David in the Flying Pidgeon, will seek to rebound from a subpar showing in the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on July 5. Dadz Laugh, who has been no worse than second in his last seven starts on dirt, returns to turf for trainer Dubis Chaparro. Cajun Breeze, third in the Umphrey, will attempt to stretch his speed around two turns Saturday. Speedy Decisive Moment will seek his first victory on Gulfstream Turf after some close calls.
Mellow Fellow, Empire Builder, Dustymour, Grand Tito and Burn the Mortgage round out the field.