Awesome Strong paid immediate dividends for CSLR Ranch Partners Saturday at Gulfstream Park, capturing the $100,000 Dr. Fager in his first start since being privately purchased for $500,000.
The six-furlong Dr. Fager co-headlined Saturday’s program with the $100,000 Desert Vixen, a six-furlong stakes for fillies, which was won by Lynx, while kicking off the 2022 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Awesome Strong, who was sold after capturing his May 9 debut by six lengths while running 4 ½ furlongs in :51.62, was in complete control from the very start of the Dr. Fager, setting an uncontested pace and drawing away to a commanding 4 ¾-length victory.
“I’m pleased he fulfilled my expectations,” trainer Jorge Delgado said. “When you have a long layoff, you have a lot of doubts in your mind, but thank God he brought his ‘A’ Game. I’m happy with the outcome.”
Delgado, who saddled the son of Awesome Slew for his debut score, was retained by the new owners following the sale and prepared Awesome Strong for the Dr. Fager while trying not to focus on the high price tag.
“I try to put that away from my mind and not have that pressure,” Delgado said. “I know it was big money. I’m trying to build my stable, and $500,000 is good money for any horse, I’m happy for them. They’re new in the game. They want to invest in the game. They’re off to a good start.”
CSLR Ranch Partners is headed by Bill Childs and his son Alex Childs.
“My dad and I got a couple quarter horses and a Thoroughbred, but this horse is kind of a different animal than we usually have,” Alex Childs said. “There’s about 10, 12 people in the group.”
Awesome Strong, the 5-2 second choice who returned $7.40, ran six furlongs in 1:11 under Miguel Vasquez after setting fractions of :22:05 and :45.13 for the first half-mile.
“He broke very well. The plan wasn’t to go to the front,” Vasquez said. “The plan was to stalk the pace, but he took the lead immediately.”
Turbo, who chased the pacesetter while saving ground under Edgard Zayas, finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of late-rallying Cajun Hope. This Run’s for You, the 2-1 favourite, tired to fifth after stalking the early pace.
The Florida Sire Stakes series will continue on September 3 with the $200,000 Affirmed at seven furlongs and on October 1 with the $400,000 In Reality at 1 1/16 miles.
“From the beginning, we’ve felt like he’s going to be a long-distance horse,” Delgado said of the colt, who is out of the Pleasant Tap mare Pleasant Ring.
Lynx lagged behind a contested pace during the early going of Saturday’s $100,000 Desert Vixen before pouncing on her tiring rivals in the stretch to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths in the first leg of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series at Gulfstream Park.
Lynx is an Arindel homebred daughter of Brethren. She covered the six furlongs in 1:12.53 and returned $8.40.
“First of all, I’m really grateful to have Arindel on my side. They’ve been great. I think [Brethren] is one of the top Florida-bred stallions right now. I got a hang of training them,” said winning trainer Carlos David, who saddled Arindel’s Octane to victories in the $200,000 Affirmed and $400,000 In Reality during the 2021 Florida Sire Stakes series.
Lynx, who overcame traffic to capture her May 19 debut by 1 ¾ lengths, raced in sixth along the backstretch and around the far turn, taking kickback from the heated competition in front of her. Go Lil Lady raced head-to-head with Girl Bye while vying for pacesetting honors with Gemma’s Curls in close pursuit.
Gemma’s Curls made a three-wide sweep under Luca Panici to take the lead turning for home and open a clear lead in mid-stretch, only to shorten stride in deep stretch. Meanwhile, Lynx kicked in with an outside drive under Edgard Zayas to pass the tiring leader and win going away.
“I think it worked out the way we wanted,” Zayas said. “Before the race, Carlos told me, ‘There is plenty of speed. Don’t rush out of there. Let the speed kill each other and when you’re ready to make a move, go to the outside and make one move.’ That’s what we did. She was there for us.”
Gemma’s Curls, a daughter of Bucchero, held second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of late-running Trust Me, a daughter of Big Beast who finished second behind Lynx in her debut before graduating impressively June 17. Lynx ran six furlongs in 1:12.53 after racing far back during the first half-mile run in :45.93.
“I didn’t want her to be that far back,” David said. “When she broke out of the gate she got in a little trouble and it cost us a little, a couple lengths, but she finished up so well. I’m really excited about the next couple of races.
“I got to give it to Zayas. He came to Palm Meadows to breeze here to get to know her a little bit because Paco [Lopez] mess here the first time.”
The Florida Sire Stakes series for fillies will continue on September 3 with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl at seven furlongs and on October 1 with the $400,000 My Dear Girl at 1 1/16 miles.
“I think she’s going to love seven furlongs. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. I look forward to that,” Zayas said of Lynx, who is out of the Red Bullet mare Darby Rose. “She was getting all the kickback and she didn’t mind it at all. She was very professional on that end. That’s why I think she’ll love the seven furlongs. She won’t be as far back. She’ll be closer before she makes her move.”