HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sing Praises got the breaks at Gulfstream Park Saturday – or one big break, at least. That was all the Stanley Gold-trained colt needed to post a dominating 5 ½-length victory in the $75,000 Birdonthewire Stakes.
The Jacks or Better Farm’s home-bred 2-year-old has had his issues with the starting gate in his recent debut, in which he finished second after a slow start, and in subsequent schooling sessions. So, Gold and jockey Ramsey Zimmerman knew that the break was key to Sing Praises’ chances in the 5 ½-furlong stakes.
“I told Ramsey that he’s good in the gate but he acts up behind the gate. I told him I’ve had him to the gate three or four times and he’s still been acting up,” Gold said. “I said, ‘He’s quick out of the gate. If he breaks good and he can get the lead, take it, and that’s all she wrote.’”
Sing Praises shot out of the gate to get a big jump on his 10 rivals, including stablemate Of Course, and he was never seriously threatened thereafter while breaking his maiden in his second lifetime start. Kulak, ridden by Michael Ritvo, closed to finish a distant second, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher I’m Venezuelan and jockey Santiago Gonzalez.
Sing Praises, who was sent to post at 20-1, ran the 5 ½-furlongs in 1:04.12 while stamping himself as a serious contender for the upcoming Florida Sire Stakes, which gets underway on Aug. 9 at Gulfstream Park.
"I got the best trip. The horse broke real fast and I was able to get over to the fence and that was all there was,” Zimmerman said. “I was able to find a couple spots to give him a breather before I went to riding him and it worked out for the best."
Dekabrist, the 4-5 favorite who set a track record in his debut and won an overnight stakes, was never a factor while finishing fifth under Edgard Zayas.
The Gold-trained Of Course vied for the early lead but faded to fourth after being checked behind his stablemate on the turn into the homestretch.
Sing Praises, as well as Of Course, will be pointed to the $100,000 Dr. Fager, the kickoff for the Florida Sire Stakes.