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Por Que No Set for Stakes Debut in Saturday’s Honey Ryder

Apr 29, 2021
Sweezey Trainee Enters 3YO Filly Stakes with 4 Wins in a Row
Well Defined Seeks Return to Stakes Form in Big Drama
Doors Open at 10 a.m. for Derby and Oaks

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Fano Racing’s Por Que No is scheduled to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $75,000 Honey Ryder at Gulfstream Park with a solid foundation that includes four straight victories.

The daughter of Wicked Strong will take on eight other Championship Meet-caliber 3-year-old fillies in the Honey Ryder, a 1 1/16-mile stakes on turf that will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $75,000 Big Drama, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

Por Que No was slow to develop, but the Kentucky-bred filly has certainly made up for lost time for trainer Kent Sweezey.

“We bought three horses at the 2-year-old sales for the owners last year. We bought a New York-bred, and we won a New York-bred race. We bought a New Jersey-bred, and we won a maiden special weight for New Jersey-breds,” Sweezey said. “And we had this filly. I kept telling the owners, ‘You guys bought three. Two of them are real early. Let me just bide my time with this filly.’”

Por Que No may have tested another trainer’s patience, but Sweezey was willing to give her as much time as she needed.

“If you look at her workouts, she must have worked three-eighths 10 times, just waiting for her to start picking her feet up and getting her body right. I was taking forever for her to come around, physically,” Sweezey said. “Mentally, she’s always been cool. She’s been laidback and easy to train. Thankfully, they just let me take my time with her.”

Por Que No, who was purchased for $25,000 at the 2020 OBS April sale for 3-year-olds in training, started to come around upon arriving at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County, where she began showing promise while training on turf.

The Sweezey trainee debuted at Gulfstream Dec. 16 in a $50,000 claiming race for maidens on turf, racing forwardly before fading in the stretch.

“She ran a pretty good race first time out, so I said, ‘Let’s run her for $25,000 because nobody’s going to take her and she’ll be eligible for the starter [allowance] and I know that race always goes,’” Sweezey said.

Por Que No graduated Jan. 15 while scoring a front-running 2 ½-length victory, before going on to capture a pair of starter allowances by 3 ½ lengths and a half-length coming from off the pace. She went on to register a gate-to-wire victory by 1 ½ lengths in an April 8 allowance at a mile on turf.

“If the gate pops and she breaks, she can go right to the lead. If she breaks a step slow, you can tuck her in and let her relax,” Sweezey said. “She’s really tactical. She’s a sweetheart.”

Sweezey was serving as assistant trainer to Jimmy Jerkens, when he trained Wicked Strong, the 2014 Wood Memorial (G1) winner.

“They look alike. She’s bay with a star and a snip on her nose. The long body and the athleticism is what we saw in her when we first looked at her,” Sweezey said.

Miguel Vasquez has the return mount.

Todd Pletcher-trained Con Lima is slated to drop from graded-stakes company for owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Joseph Graffeo, Eric Nikolaus Del Toro and Troy Johnson.  The daughter of Commissioner finished first twice and second three times in five turf races before finishing fourth on dirt in the March 27 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

Con Lima won the Jan. 2 Ginger Brew at a mile on turf before finishing second in the Sweetest Chant (G3). In the Feb. 27 Herecomesthebride (G3), she added a graded-stakes victory to her resuming after being placed first via a disqualification of the first-place finisher.

Pletcher will also be represented by Mathis Stable’s Coworth Park, who finished fifth in the March 27 Sanibel Island after winning a starterPaco Lopez, who guided Con Lima to victory in the Ginger Brew, returns to the saddle, while Rajiv Maragh has the call on Coworth Park.

Patricia Generazio’s Mischievous Dream is scheduled to make her 2021 debut in the Honey Ryder following a promising juvenile campaign. The Christophe Clement-trained daughter of Into Mischief, won the Sorority at a mile on turf, in September.

Emisael Jaramillo has the call aboard the New York-bred filly.

Sayjay Racing LLC and Greg Hall’s Cultured is slated to her stakes debut while coming off a most impressive debut victory April 11 at Gulfstream. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained daughter of Tiznow broke somewhat slowly for the 7 ½-furlong maiden special weight race on turf before sweeping to victory by a length.

Hector Berrios has been awarded the return call on Cultured.

Chad Schumer and Stephen Screnci’s Karakatsie, Mojallali Stable’s Unshakable U, trainer Michael MacDonald and Kenneth Doyen’s Mia at Midnight and Dennis Smith and Daniel Walters’ Pens Street round out the field.

Well Defined Seeks Return to Stakes Form in Big Drama

Graded-stakes winner Well Defined will seek to return to stakes form in Saturday’s $75,000 Big Drama Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell’s 5-year-old gelding, who won the 2019 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, is scheduled to face seven rivals in the Big Drama, a seven-furlong sprint that will offer a $25,000 win-only bonus to Well Defined and the other Florida-bred horses in the field.

O’Connell, who has saddled 2,241 winners, trained Well Defined for owner/breeder Stonehedge Farm early in his career before assuming ownership last fall. The son of With Distinction has won three of his last five starts, twice at the seven-furlong distance. Most recently, Well Defined lost a photo finish after setting the pace in an April 2 starter allowance at a mile.

Emisael Jaramillo has the call on Well Defined, a multiple stakes winner with more than $589,000 in earnings.

Live Oak Plantation’s Old Chestnut will also seek a return to stakes-winning form Saturday while making a switch to dirt racing. The 4-year-old son of Speightstown is winless in nine starts since taking a five-furlong stakes on turf at Woodbine in September 2019.

The Mark Casse trainee has raced on dirt only once previously, finishing fourth in the seven-furlong Jimmy Winkfield at Aqueduct in February 2020. Most recently, Old Chestnut came off a seven-month layoff to finish a close second in an April 15 optional claiming allowance on turf at Gulfstream.

Miguel Vasquez has the call on the Florida-bred ridgling.

The ultra-consistent R Mercedes Boy, who has finished in the money in 17 of 20 career starts, finished second in a Tampa Bay stakes for Florida-breds March 28. He won back-to-back optional claiming allowances at Gulfstream Park in his two previous starts.

Owned by Averill Racing LLC and partners, the 4-year-old son of Overdriven will be ridden by Paco Lopez. Trainer Georgina Baxter will also be represented by Santa Rosa Racing Stables’ Inter Miami. Marcos Meneses has the mount.

Trainer Bob Hess Jr. has entered Jeffery Lambert’s Gangly, who captured an optional claiming allowance for Florida-breds at a mile April 1, and Silvery Enough, who has finished in the money in 12 of 16 career starts.

Rancho Allegre’s Monforte, a stakes winner on turf, and Glenn Fagan’s Glory of Florida, who won a starter allowance prior to finishing far behind Well Defined last time out, round out the field.

Doors Open at 10 a.m. for Derby and Oaks

Silks, Ten Palms and the grandstand will open at 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday to accommodate those watching and wagering on the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs.

Friday’s Oaks program and Saturday’s Derby program both begin with a first race post of 10:30 a.m.

Seating and tickets for both days at Gulfstream are available here: Click here for tickets

 

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