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Yates Wins Big on ‘All-In’ Bet on Cajun Breeze

Jul 29, 2021
Small Breeder Frank Has Hope in Him After Selling for $190,000
Friday’s Twilight Card has $700,000 Rainbow 6

HALLANDALE BEACH - Owner/trainer Michael Yates is scheduled to saddle Dean Delivers and Cajun’s Magic, a pair of highly promising Stonehedge LLC homebred juveniles, for Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Both horses are sons of Cajun’s Breeze, a steady but unspectacular allowance and stakes performer who earned $246,860 the hard way during his 4 ½-year racing career for Yates.

Convinced that the son of Congrats had somehow fallen short of reaching his full potential on the racetrack, Yates made a big gamble upon Cajun Breeze’s retirement in February 2015. The Ocala horseman decided to stand him at stud, taking a giant leap of faith by breeding a majority of his broodmares to the horse that had been an underachiever on the track.

“I kind of went all-in,” said Yates, who operates Shadybrook Farm in Morriston, FL.

Cajun Breeze’s stallion career got off to a fast start in 2018 when Yates’ Cajun Firecracker followed up a debut score with a victory in the Dr. Fager, a feat Dean Delivers and Cajun’s Magic will try to match Saturday.

The subsequent successes of Cajun Brother, a graded stakes-placed stakes winner, and Cajun Casanova, a multiple stakes winner, caught the eye of savvy Florida breeders, Gil and Marilyn Campbell, who made a deal with Yates to stand Cajun Breeze at their Stonehedge Farm in Williston, FL where he has been standing the last few years.

“He just keeps throwing racehorses,” Yates said. “He throws an athletic horse. They’ve got a great mind on them. He stamps his foals. He just keeps getting runners.”

Dean Delivers produced an eye-catching debut at Gulfstream Park June 26, pulling away to score by 7 ½ lengths after stalking the early pace. Cajun’s Magic graduated by 4 ½ lengths July 3 after just missing in his debut.

Small Breeder Frank Has Hope in Him After Selling for $190,000

The FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes has a 39-year history of compelling stories, including those of small and moderate breeders and owners competing against high-profile stables with regally bred 2-year-olds.

Enter Michael Frank.

A native of North Dakota, Frank bought a mare for $3,500 some eight years ago and went on to breed her to a stallion standing for $3,500 two years ago. The result: A colt named Hope in Him, who sold for $190,000 in March at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale and is the 8-5 favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Dr. Fager division of the FTBOA Sire Stakes.

Hope in Him, a son of Chitu out of Frank’s only mare, Satan’s Mistress, ran off to a 5-length victory at 4 ½ furlongs in his only start June 4 for trainer Joe Orseno and owners Breeze Easy, LLC. The colt will face eight others Saturday at six furlongs.

For Frank, who owned and raced horses through 2016, the story begins back in 2013 when he acquired Satan’s Mistress, a Louisiana-bred mare by Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer and the stakes winner Sheza Nasty Lady.

“She was racing at Charles Town and I bought her for $3,500,” Frank said. “A friend mentioned to me she was being sold, the original owner had died and the [family] was interested in selling.”

Satan’s Mistress proved to be a great purchase, winning 12 of 38 starts and earning $238,825 while racing at eight different tracks. Satan’s Mistress finished second in Gulfstream’s Sunset Stakes in 2015 and, the year before, set fractions of :22 and :44 before getting beat less than a length in the Safari Queen at Gulfstream at five furlongs on the turf.

“She was a tough filly, and she had a lot of bad [racing] luck,” Frank said.

Satan’s Mistress not only provided Frank with excitement on the track but she produced Hope in Him, who breezed an eighth of a mile at the Ocala Breeders’ Sale in March in 9.4 seconds. The result: The colt brought $190,000.

“I actually thought he’d bring a little more,” Frank said. “When you go 9.4….”

Frank, who has bred Satan’s Mistress to Girvin, is planning to fly from his home in Costa Rica to attend Saturday’s race.

Friday’s Twilight Card has $700,000 Rainbow 6

Racing returns to Gulfstream Friday with a 2 p.m. first race post and a guaranteed pool in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 of $700,000.

The sequence kicks off with the fifth race, a competitive $6,250 claimer at six furlongs for fillies and mares. The sequence includes three turf races, a starter optional claimer and two allowance optional claimers.

Race 7, an allowance optional claimer at 6 ½ furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, drew a field of six including Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Isolate, making his first start finishing third in November in the Nashua (G3), and R Mercedes Boy, second in the Sprint Stakes at Tampa and Big Drama at Gulfstream earlier this year.

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