Undefeated R Harper Rose Rolls in $200,000 Susan’s Girl
Joseph-Trained 2Y0 Filly Wins by 4 in Florida Sire Stakes Action
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Averill Racing LLC and Two Eight Racing LLC’s R Harper Rose rolled to victory in the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, emerging from the second leg of the $1.2 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series at Gulfstream Park undefeated in three career starts.
The Susan’s Girl co-headlined Saturday’s 11-race program with the $200,000 Affirmed, a seven-furlong stakes for colts and geldings.in the $1.2 million series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.
Sent to post as the 1-5 favorite in a field of nine fillies, the daughter of Khozan successfully stretched out from her previous 5 ½-furlong victories to the seven-furlong distance of the Susan’s Girl.
“Seven-eighths is always the trickiest distance. To go from two 5 ½ races to seven-eighth is more testing than even a one-turn mile. To see her get through that was good,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said.
Challenged to her inside along the backstretch by Field of Greens, jockey Edgard Zayas rated R Harper Rose just outside the longshot pacesetter before quickly opening a lead entering the far turn. The Florida-bred filly continued to show the way into the stretch and drew off to a four-length victory while somewhat shortening stride in the final yards. R Harper Rose ran the seven-furlong distance in 1:23.35 after contesting early fractions of 22.72 and 45.30 seconds for the first half mile.
"I think she was the class of the field. Last time she acted up a little bit behind the gate and today she did it a little bit, but she was way better. She's still learning, still green, still a baby, but she has a lot of speed and she could be a really nice filly at least going up to seven furlongs,” said Zayas, who extended his streak of riding at least one winner on the last 19 cards at he has ridden at Gulfstream.
R Harper Rose, who missed the Sept. 9 first leg of the Florida Sire Stakes series due to an untimely fever, is likely to run next in the $300,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile third and final leg on Dec. 1.
“I feel better about that [1 1/16 miles] than I did about the seven-eighths, because the seven-eighths, you have to run the whole way,” Joseph said.
Honey Dijon, the 9-2 second choice trained by Joe Sharp, closed to finish second, three-quarters of a length ahead of a very game Field of Greens, a 69-1 outsider.
Two Eight Racing LLC is the racing stable of former Major League outfielder Jayson Werth, who was present for R Harper Rose’s triumph.
“When you get a horse like this and she’s a big favorite…coming around the turn you never know what’s going to happen, so this is quite an experience,” he said. “When you play baseball, you have control over what’s going on, at least a little bit. Here you have no control.”