Small Breeders With Big Dreams in Saturday’s Sire Stakes

December 10, 2019

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Roll the dice, Jimmy Randolph said.

Go for it, echoed Madeline Nowicki. "Anybody can do it...and it's so much fun."

Randolph and Nowicki are just two of the small Florida breeders who will be living the dream come Saturday's finals of the $1.4 million Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Nowicki, along with her husband David and daughter Melissa Anthony, bred Stonestreet Stables Free Flying, and Randolph is the breeder of record of Moment of Delight. Both will run in Saturday's $350,000 My Dear Girl Division of the Sire Stakes.

Back in 1979, Florida breeder and owner Dan Lasater conceived the idea of the Sire Stakes (formerly Stallion Stakes) to help showcase Florida stallions and promote breeding in Florida. And over the past 32 years it has served Florida breeders both large and small. This year's Sire Stakes will feature 2-year-olds from some of Florida's largest farms as well as small breeders like Nowicki and Randolph.

Nowicki has had horses for some 60 years; first showing in Michigan and then breeding Thoroughbreds on a small scale while she and her husband managed farms. "We don't breed much," she said. "Right now we only have two mares and the most we've had is four or five."

Nowicki purchased Free Flying's mare, Free Hill, at the 2010 Ocala Breeders' Sales (OBS) when she was barren. Free Hill, a daughter of Marquetry foaled in 1999 in Canada, was purchased originally by Eugene and Laura Melnyk in 2000. Free Hill won two of 11 starts.

"She was classy from the beginning," said Nowicki of Free Hill. "When we bought her I think (Melnyk) had been downsizing for a while. She was such a big, beautiful mare. Gorgeous. And we bred her to Kantharos because that was a horse I followed when he was racing."

Free Flying, owned by Stonestreet Stables and trained by David Fawkes, finished fourth in her racing debut Aug. 7 before winning Sept. 6 by three lengths.

"We're so delighted the filly went to Stonestreet and David Fawkes," Nowicki said. "They took their time with the filly and managed her so nicely. We went to see her at Calder and David Fawkes couldn't have been nicer."

Randolph purchased Sweetness, the dam of Moment of Delight, from OBS after she was winless in eight starts. Like Nowicki, Randolph has been around horses for more than 30 years, mostly training and only getting into breeding about 10 years ago.

"We've trained a lot of good ones but we've never had one we bred run for ($350,000)," Randolph said. "We bred her to A.P. Warrior. It's a crap shoot, but that's what we do. You roll the dice and hope you get lucky."

After breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths Aug. 16, Moment of Delight finished second three weeks later in the $250,000 Susan's Girl Division of the Sire Stakes "For us, it was a pretty big thing," Randolph said.

While Randolph won't be able to get to Gulfstream Saturday for the Sire Stakes, "we'll be riding her from the quarter pole to the finish line from up here (in Ocala)."

Nowicki is hoping her success sends a message to others.

"I just hope more people nominate and others feel the same way I do about breeding here in Florida," she said. "Not only is it a wonderful experience, but this shows that small breeders have a chance."

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