Undefeated D’Angelo Duo to Seek Florida Sire Stakes Repeats
Bentornato Looms as Big Favorite for Saturday’s $200,000 Affirmed
Welcome Back Looking to Go Distance in $200,000 Susan’s Girl
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Jose D’Angelo hopes to relive a career achievement at Gulfstream Park, when he saddles his undefeated duo of Bentornato and Welcome Back for starts in Saturday’s second leg of the 2023 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series.
D’Angelo, who is locked in a tight three-way battle for the Sunshine Meet training title with Saffie Joseph Jr. and Victor Barboza Jr., saddled King Leon Stable Corp.’s Bentornato for a romping victory in the $100,000 Dr. Fager and Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing LLC’s Welcome Back for a fast-closing narrow triumph in the $100,000 Desert Vixen to sweep the six-furlong first-leg races for juveniles sired by accredited Florida stallions.
Bentornato looms as a big favorite in a field of 12 entered Sunday for the $200,000 Affirmed, which will be contested at seven furlongs. Welcome Back appears to have a tougher task in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, the seven-furlong co-feature for fillies.
Bentornato has two stakes victories on his unblemished three-race resume. After rallying for a narrow debut victory at five furlongs July 1, the son of Valiant Minister overcame early bumping to register an eye-catching 4 ¼-length front-running score in six-furlong Proud Man Aug. 12. He came right back with a dominating 7 ½-length front-running win in the Dr. Fager.
Emisael Jaramillo has been aboard for all three wins and has been awarded the return mount.
Ironhorse Racing Stable LLC and Harlow Stables LLC’s Mattingly is scheduled to make his main track debut in the Affirmed with an impressive record on Tapeta. The Joe Orseno-trained son of Bucchero has three stakes placings, including a victory last time out in the Hollywood Beach at Gulfstream, and a maiden score on his four-race record.
Trainer Christophe Clement has entered Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Hurricane Nelson in the Affirmed. The son of Kozan will seek to graduate Saturday after finishing second in her first two starts in New York. She fell a half-length short of graduating in his Aug. 12 debut at Saratoga before checking in second again a month later at Aqueduct.
Brad Grady and David Grund’s Seminole Chief, a son of Girvin, is scheduled to make his stakes debut for trainer Jack Sisterson after capturing his Sept. 11 debut at Finger Lakes by a going-away eight lengths.
Shooting Star Thoroughbreds LLC’s Echo Lane, Champion Equine LLC’s Esperon, Arindel’s Lasso, Just For Fun Stable Inc.’s Roar Ready, Scott Savin and Savin Sisters Stable’s Rye’s My Guy, Cammarota Racing LLC’s Secret Lover, Lawson Racing Stables’ Sound of the Beast, and Screen Door Stables LLC’s Squints round out the field.
Soldi Stable LLC’s Welcome Back is slated to seek her third-straight victory while facing 11 other fillies in the Susan’s Girl. The daughter of Adios Charlie took on winners in her July 29 debut, a five-furlong optional claiming allowance on Tapeta in which she closed from far back and drew off to a 1 ¾-length score. She was the odds-on favorite for her return in the Desert Vixen but had to work for a nose decision after being steadied in traffic on the turn into the homestretch under returning rider Edwin Gonzalez.
Welcome Back figures to have her work cut out for her if she is to emerge undefeated from the Susan’s Girl, in which she will be challenged by undefeated R Harper Rose.
Averill Racing and Two Eight Racing LLC’s R Harper Rose was the morning-line favorite for the Desert Vixen, only to be scratched after coming down with a slight fever a few days earlier. The daughter of Khozan recovered quickly and made an impressive return to action while capturing a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Sept. 22 by 5 ¾ lengths. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained filly had previously debuted with a front-running debut victory by 6 ¼ lengths. Edgard Zayas has the return mount.
Arindel’s Mist, a homebred daughter of Brethren, will seek to turn the tables on Welcome Back, after coming within a nose of victory in the Desert Vixen.
Brad Grady’s Honey Dijon is scheduled to ship in from Kentucky for the Susan’s Girl. The Joe Sharp-trained daughter of Girvin broke her maiden at seven furlongs at Saratoga in her second career start before finishing an even sixth over Kentucky Downs turf in the Untapable Stakes.
Robyn Kaiser’s Bucchera, Quintessential Racing Florida and Rocky Top Stable’s Dancing N Dixie, Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Fields of Green, BC Racing LLC’s Haunted, Just For Fun Stable Inc.’s Jazzin, Gelfenstein Farm LLC’s Reina Mar, and Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Unrelentless round out the field.