HALLANDALE BEACH, FL â€“ Undefeated Twotwentyfive A will have plenty of back-up in Saturdayâ€™s $350,000 In Reality Division of the $1.4 million Florida Sire Stakes Series at Gulfstream Park.
The 2-year-old son of Awesome of Course is just one of four horses entered by breeder/owner Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Stanley Gold in a 12-horse field assembled Wednesday for the 1 1/16-mile stakes for juveniles sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida.
Twotwentyfive A provided his breeder/owner and trainer with their respective 15th Florida Sire Stakes successes with a late-charging victory in the $250,000 Affirmed on Sept. 6.
Stablemate Sing Praises, who had captured the $100,000 Dr. Fager in the seriesâ€™ first division on Aug.9, finished just a neck back after setting the pace and has also been entered for the In Reality. Hear That Tune, a recent maiden winner, and Southern Barbecue, a full brother to 2009 Sire Stakes sweeper Jackson Bend, are both ready to back up their more accomplished stablemates.
Twotwentyfive A debuted at Gulfstream on Aug. 3, closing fast to win going away by 3 Â¾ lengths over 5 Â½ furlongs under jockey Abdiel Jaen. Sing Praises, on the strength of his front-running romp in the Dr. Fager was favored at 2-5 in the seven-furlong Affirmed, but Twotwentyfive A made a late surge to catch him in the shadow of the finish line.
â€œWe knew he had speed, but the first time he showed a lot of poise when Abdiel decided to take him back instead of going with the two speed horses. He sat back and relaxed before swinging wide in the stretch,â€ Gold said. â€œSecond time, in the Sire Stakes, Jaen rode him with a lot of confidence. He knew what he could do and he had them measured just right. Heâ€™ll probably be at his best at this distance.â€
After coming up short in the Affirmed, there is a question if the two-turn distance will suit Sing Praises.
â€œWeâ€™ll see. I donâ€™t know,â€ Gold said. â€œWe know he has speed, but I donâ€™t think he got beat by the distance last time. I think he got beat because Twotwentyfive A. came on and we were a little bit overconfident with Sing Praises.â€
Jaen has been named to ride Twotwentyfive A again, while Ramsey Zimmerman has the return mount aboard Sing Praises.
Hear That Tune debuted victoriously on Sept. 5 after setting the pace most of the way in a mile maiden test.
â€œHe broke his maiden going a mile, so we know heâ€™ll go the distance,â€ said Gold, who named leading rider Edgard Zayas to ride the son of Hear No Evil.
Southern Barbecue, also a son of Hear No Evil, is coming off a maiden victory at six-furlongs in his fourth lifetime start.
â€œSouthern Barbecue is a brother to Jackson Bend, who preferred one turn, but he would go up to a mile,â€ Gold said.
Jaidenâ€™s Best, a Gil Campbell homebred trained by Kathleen Oâ€™Connell, is set to challenge the Gold trainees again, after finishing a late-running third in both the Dr. Fager and the Affirmed.
Wesley Ward-trained Boozin Time, who finished fourth in the Affirmed, is the only other winner in the field, having beaten $16,000 claiming company by eight lengths.
Bill White-trained Honor Earned, who finished second behind Hear That Tune last time out, and Chad Brown â€“trained Royal Squeeze, a beaten-favorite fourth at Belmont in his most recent start, appear to be the most promising of six maidens entered in the Affirmed.
Yourdreamsormine, Tutti Sanno, Saraguaro and Starship Danny will also be chasing after their first lifetime victory.
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