The third and final legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes series for juveniles at Calder Race Course capped a spectacular run for Jacks or Better Farm’s homebreds, sire Awesome of Course, trainer Stanley Gold, and jockey Luis Jurado.
Fort Loudon capped a three-race blitz through the two-year-old division with a sparking win in the $300,000 In Reality division while Awesome Belle romped by 7½ lengths in the $300,000 My Dear Girl division to give Jacks or Better, Awesome of Course, and Gold victories in five of the six races in the series.
The 2011 Florida Stallion Series also marked the third consecutive year that Jacks or Better and trainer Gold have swept either the open or fillies division of the series, taking the fillies series last year with eventual champion two-year-old filly Awesome Feather and annexing the open division in 2009 with Jackson Bend.
Fort Loudon won his fourth consecutive race in the In Reality Division, one race after Awesome Belle galloped home.
“I guess this is the icing on the cake,” Gold said. “I thought he could do it [sweep]. It looked like he hesitated while he was alongside the other horse in the upper stretch before he went on and drew off. I feel so fortunate to have had these nice horses the last few years.”
Out of the multiple Grade 2-winning Talc mare Lottsa Talc, Fort Loudon boosted his earnings to $333,485 with four wins from seven starts. Jurado rode him to victory in each of the three Florida Stallion Series races
My Dear Girl Division winner Awesome Belle, wide while finishing fifth in the Desert Vixen Division and in tight quarters when finishing third in the Susan’s Girl Division, avoided those problems as new jockey Jurado took her straight to the front.
“She kept finding trouble in her [Florida Stallion Stakes] races until today,” Gold said. “We put the blinkers on her and she went to the front. No trouble today.”
The My Dear Girl was the first stakes victory for Awesome Belle, whose earnings jumped to $244,497. Out of the stakes-winning Bayou Hebert mare Bayou Plans, she is a half sister to Grade 1 winner Midas Eyes and multiple Grade 3 winner Bayou’s Lassie.
Owner-breeder Fred Brei indicated that if Fort Loudon and Awesome Belle come back okay, the Breeders’ Cup is a possibility. Brei also will consider My Dear Girl third-place finisher Redbud Road, winner of the Desert Vixen and second in the Susan’s Girl, for the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
“They have that new sprint race for two-year-olds, so she could possibly go, too,” Brei said.
Also on the card, Bonnie Heath’s homebred Mad Flatter held off Mambo Meister by one-length for a second straight victory in the $100,000 Spend a Buck Handicap (G3).
It was the third consecutive year that one of the two familiar rivals has won the Spend a Buck. Mambo Meister took the 2009 edition, then finished second to Mad Flatter by 6¼ lengths last year.