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Sunshine State Wrap
As Bahamian Squall slipped inside pacesetting favorite Little Drama on the turn into the homestretch and powered his way to a 3 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Sunshine State, the 3-year-old colt gave a very convincing imitation of his half-brother, Apriority, Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
“He looked a lot like him, didn’t he?” said trainer David Fawkes, who trains both siblings out of owner Donald Dizney’s broodmare, Midway Squall.
Bahamian Squall, the 7-1 fourth betting choice in a field of nine Florida-bred sprinters, joined his half-brother in the stakes-winning ranks under a well executed ride by Luis Saez.
The 3-year-old son of Gone West rated just off the pace, set by Little Drama and stalked by Fort Loudon, along the backstretch and into the far turn. With Little Drama, the even-money favorite, setting the pace well off the rail, Saez made a smart decision to guide his mount into the opening, and Bahamian Squall took over the rest of the way, striding away to a decisive victory.
Fort Loudon, the 7-2 second betting choice ridden by Jose Lezcano, finished second, a length ahead of late-closing Close It Out and jockey Manoel Cruz. Little Drama, a former Fawkes trainee, faded to fifth under Jesus Castanon. Bahamian Squall ran seven furlongs in sharp 1:21.12.
“He had an excellent work the other day at Calder the other day. He just came into the race really, really good. The last time when we ran him he finished second to the (third-place finisher, Close It Out) here. I think he made the lead early and he got a little lost,” Fawkes said. “Saez kept him busy today. He did a really nice job.”
Bahamian Squall, who captured his debut at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 5, earned $60,000 for his initial stakes victory.
“We’ll look at another one of these (stakes for Florida-breds),” said Fawkes, noting that the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 19 was a likely goal.
Dizney was on hand to celebrate his home-bred’s triumph in the Gulfstream winner’s circle, where Apriority visited last season after a victory in the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3).. “It has been a really nice family. We have a grin every time we get a win out of them. It’s been a nice family. Hopefully, we can keep it up,” Dizney said. “We bred the mare (Midway Squall) this year to my stallion, First Dude, so we’re anxious to see how that one turns out.”