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Campbells, O’Connell Bring a ‘Smile’ into Saturday’s Desert Vixen

Jul 28, 2021
Owner/Trainer Team Seeks Continued Success in Florida Sires Stakes
Mandatory Rainbow 6 Payout Also Featured on Saturday’s Card

– Gil and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge LLC and trainer Kathleen O’Connell will seek to continue longstanding success in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday when they send out Silver Smile for a start in the $100,000 Desert Vixen at Gulfstream Park.

The Desert Vixen, a six-furlong sprint for fillies, will co-headline Saturday’s program with the $100,000 Dr. Fager, a six-furlong open division dash, as the annual series for juveniles sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida gets underway. A mandatory payout of the 20-cent Rainbow 6 carryover pool will also be featured on the program.

O’Connell has saddled 11 of the Campbells’ 15 Florida Sire Stakes race winners, including Scandalous Act, who swept the 2013 series for fillies, and Blazing Sword, who won two legs of the open division series in 1996 to launch a multiple graded stakes-winning career.

“I’m very proud of the association I’ve had with them. It’s been over 25 years. We’ve had a good run. They’re wonderful people. They understand the ups and downs of the game. They’ve brought a lot into the program for Florida-breds,” said O’Connell, who ranks second all-time among women trainers with 2,263 winners. “I wish them nothing but good luck whoever has their horses.”

The Campbells, who will be represented in the Dr. Fager by Michael Yates-trained homebreds Dean Delivers and Cajun’s Magic, bred Silver Smile, a daughter of freshman sire Long Island Sound.

Silver Smile (7-2) is scheduled to make her second start Saturday after registering a dominating 4 ¼-length debut victory in front-running fashion June 3 at Gulfstream Park.

“She’s trained very well,” O’Connell said. “I think we’re all at a handicap because we can’t get more educational races between breaking their maiden and the stakes. It’s not like it used to be, but we’re all in the same spot.”

Silver Smile, who will take on 10 fillies in a lightly raced field, will be ridden by Emisael Jaramillo, who was aboard or her successful debut.

Breeze Easy LLC and trainer Joe Orseno, who will be represented in the Dr. Fager by highly regarded Hope in Him, will send out Stone Beauty ((9-2) for a start in the Desert Vixen. The daughter of Neolithic withstood early pressure before drawing clear by 1 ¾ lengths in her July 16 career debut at Gulfstream.

“When I got her, she was going through a growth spurt. I thought, ‘Maybe she’s not going to make it.’ But she’s really come around. She ran really well for me the first time. I think she’ll move forward off that race, because I didn’t have her really cranked up where I wanted her to be. But I knew if we were going to make the sire stakes, we needed to run her. Everybody was all for it, and now we’re going to run in both,” Orseno said. “This is the first time I’ve run a horse in both races.”

Stone Beauty was purchased by Breeze Easy’s Mike Hall and Sam Ross for $130,000 at the OBS April 2-year-olds-in-training sale, a month after they made the winning bid of $190,000 for Hope in Him at the OBS March sale.

“We didn’t quite plan on going as high as we did, but we thought that she was a Florida Sire Stakes prospect,” Orseno said. “The owners have been wanting horses for the Florida program. They’re standing a stallion in Florida [Curlin’s Honor]. They race all over, but they’re supporting Florida. They wanted a filly that would fit the bill.”

Samy Camacho has the return mount aboard Stone Beauty.

Like Silver Smile and Stone Beauty, trainer Roger Laurin’s Demurely (8-1) will enter the Desert Vixen off a sharp debut victory. The daughter of Uncaptured rallied from off the pace under returning jockey Chantal Sutherland to capture her May 28 debut by 2 ½ lengths.

Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Noble Dreamer, who finished second behind Demurely, will enter the Desert Vixen off a sharp 7 ½-length triumph in front-running fashion June 18. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained filly is 2-1 in the morning line and one of four daughters of Noble Bird, a Grade 1 stakes-winning freshman stallion, entered in the Desert Vixen.

Joseph will also be represented by Joseph Imbesi’s Solar Girl, a daughter of Greenpointcrusader who finished off the board in her recent debut.

Edgard Zayas has the return call on Noble Dreamer, while J. C, Diaz Jr. will ride Solar Girl.  

Quintessential Racing Florida LLC, Rocky Top Stable and Tara Sweeney’s Royal Rocker is slated to bring two-race experience into the Desert Vixen, in which the daughter of Noble Bird will seek to graduate. The Mark Casse trainee, who was narrowly beaten while finishing second in her June 20 debut at Gulfstream, most recently finished third after experiencing trouble at the start and setting a fast pace into the stretch July 17.

Quintessential Racing Florida LLC and Casse will also be represented in the Desert Vixen field by a pair of Noble Bird-sired first-time starters, Rufa Red Knot and Ukiyo.

Cristian Torres has been named to ride Royal Rocker, while Luca Panici and Leonel Reyes are slated to guide Rufa Red Knot and Ukiyo, respectively.

Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s Rachel’s Rock is also scheduled to make her first career start in the Desert Vixen, in which the daughter of Jess’s Dream will seek to provide her owner/breeder Fred Brei with his record 20th Florida Sire Stakes win.

Trainer Ralph Nicks named Jesus Rios to ride the Jacks or Better Farm Inc. homebred filly.

Blazing Meadows Farm LLC’s Soul Flight and Champion Equine’s My Sassenach, both coming off second-place finishes, will seek to graduate in the Desert Vixen.

The Florida Sire Stakes series will will continue Aug. 28 with the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, both slated for seven furlongs, and Sept. 25 with the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies, both to be run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles.

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