Florida Stakes Finals Complete

Sunshine Meadows

The  Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association's (FSBOA) yearly Super Saturday tradition continued on Saturday (Dec. 9), this year at Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village, with $159,950 in purses up for grabs for Florida eligible two-year-olds and three-year-olds.

Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey had a grand slam on the eight-race program while trainer Nick Coblentz continued his hot hand on the training side of the ledger, vaulting his scorecard to 22-13-2 in 48 starts for an astounding UTRS number of .615.

Hennessey was the leading driver, compiling 22 wins in 29 starts to lead all drivers and finished with a UDRS of .854.

The six week FSBOA Stakes program honoured the memories of Melvyn Taylor, Tom Audley, Jay Sears and Carol Macomber—the latter two on today’s final program with Kim Sears in attendance for the tribute to Jay Sears and Ricky Macomber Jr., Kelly Macomber Robinson, Kim Macomber and Ed Hauck in the winner’s circle, with daughter Lori, among others, paying homage to Carol Macomber.

Today also marked the end of a 40-year career for trainer/driver Marc Major, who is retiring to pursue other interests.


Bellarina Jet (sired by Odina Jet), handled by Hennessey, repelled a bid from her only foes, Ps Just Peachy, driven by Marshall Makin, during a lively third quarter and went on to score a five-length win in 2:09. She is trained by Coblentz for Amante Standardbreds. The win completed a six-race sweep at Sunshine Meadows to send her earnings during this stakes season to $17,396. 


Okeechobee Jet completed yet another sweep for the Hennessey-Coblentz-Amante Standardbred and sire Odina Jet by scoring a gate-to-wire, three-length win in 2:00.4, a new life mark for the youngster. The winner’s stablemate, Legacys Casanova, driven by Coblentz himself, looked the leader in the eye halfway through the mile, continuing to the top of the long Sunshine Meadows stretch, but that bid was repelled once they straightened away as the winner’s :29.3 finale sealed the deal. Prairie Friendly was third for Frank Affrunti while Watching The Mets and Prairie Possession completed the official order of finish. The winner, now six-for-six lifetime, pushed his lifetime bounty to $31,900 during the six-week FSBOA season.


Prairie Kitten (sired by Royel Millennium) put away two challenges—one off the wings and another turning for home—and went on to score a one-length win for Hennessey in 2:02. Owned by trainer Laurie Poulin along with Fred Morosini and Patricia Fritz, Prairie Kitten out-fought Sweet Scarlet, handled by Tony Dinges, off the wings and, again, at the third station and then held off the late-surging Dance With Destiny, driven by Joe Sanzeri, to score by that length. The win was the third straight for Prairie Kitten, with the major share of the purse vaulting her earnings to $27,433 during the six weeks of action at Sunshine Meadows.


Gator Pledthefifth (sired by Well Said), given crafty handling by Mickey Mc Nichol, stretched his winning streak to three with a gate-to-wire win in 2:02. Using the inside post to perfection, McNichol used the gelding’s new found early speed to dissuade the competition early on, lolly-gagged to the half in 1:02 and sprinted home in :29 to hold the fastest closing Prairie Rocknroll, with Dinges handling the lines, safe by a length. Prairie Gorgeous, driven by Hennessey was next, forced to take back as McNichol pressed the issue early. Prairie Achiever was fourth with Dont Pet The Gator picking up the nickel. Trained by McNichol for owner George Birkhold, Gator Pledthefifth now has a 3-2-0 scorecard in five starts, good for $18,986 in bounty to start his career.


Kings Sweetheart (sired by Big Chocolate) overcame the outside six post and, after zooming off the wings and repelling a challenge turning for home, went on to score a 1-1/2-length win for Kevin Wallis in 2:01.4. Using the same strategy as in last week’s win in 2:00, Kings Sweetheart put up numbers of :30.1, 1:01 and 1:30.4 while repelling a strong challenge turning for home and began edging away late with Legacys Jailbreak, second last week, second once again here, as well, for Dinges. Atlantic Wave was third for Alessandro Spano while Prairie Ranga finished fourth as Marc Major wrapped up his 40-year career as a trainer-driver. Madaboutchocolate picked up the final award. Kings Sweetheart, the champion two-year-old in his class last season, successfully defended his crown gathering his third win of the year. He’s banked $27,025 this semester and $42,816 lifetime—more than half of that ($23,850) earned in his two FSBOA championship Florida Breeders Stakes events at Sunshine Meadows. Kings Sweetheart is owned by Rebecca Glassford, along with trainer Marshall Makin.


Seminole Moon (sired by Shibboleth Hanover), who let victory slip away last week after a miscue in the final stages of the mile, made amends by rallying late to score a win measuring 1 3/4 lengths in 1:59.4. With Affrunti handling the gelding’s line, Seminole Moon, starting from the outside five out, left with a bit of alacrity and found a spot in third as Rhinestone Camo, with McNichol in the bike, carved up panels of :30.1, 1:00 and a picked up 1:28.2 as Seminole Moon took up the chase around the final bend and wore down the leader once they straightened away for the drive home. Prairie Nugget then rallied for second in the final yards to edge out “Camo” by a neck with Prairie Famous yet anther neck back in fourth. Captain Cam picked up the final award in this quintet. Trained by Lisa Martin for owners Mary Martin, Virginia Schoeffel and Kathy Schoeffel, Seminole Moon won for the third time this year, sending his earnings to $35,861.


Flo Jo (sired by Keystone Velocity) led from first long stride to last in scoring a 25-length win in 1:57 for Hennessey, giving the Hall of Fame horseman a grand slam on the program. Prairie Lynx, with Wallis in the bike, was second while Twowordsmadein USA, driven by Rob Hoffman, was next. Sawing through panels of :30 and :58.3, Hennessey sent his charge winging through a :27.2 third panel before coasting home in :31 for the win—her sixth straight with the last five at Sunshine Meadows. Trained by Coblentz for Mr. Dale Witcher II, Flo Jo, named after the Olympic star of years ago, is now seven-for-seven this year with earnings of $26,277 for the season and $42,207 lifetime in a lightly-raced career measuring only 14 starts.


Easy As That (sired by Tarver Hanover), driven by trainer Dinges for owner Lee Clarke, took charge off the wings, carded fractions of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.3 and went on to record his third straight win at Sunshine Meadows by hitting the wire in 1:58, widening his lead to 1-3/4 lengths at the wire. Flying For Trev, teamed with Affrunti, finshed second while The Honkytonk, with Hennessey at the controls, was a fast-closing third. Constant Velocity finished fourth with Gator Growl earning thee nickel. About the win, Dinges said, “You know, he kinda likes to join the fray from the get-go…and we were successful the last two times doing just that, so I decided ‘why change something when it’s working?’ He heard some hoof around the final turn and he pricked up his ears so I knew he was still interested. It was a good performance for us." For Easy As That, it was his fifth win of the year—all at Sunshine Meadows—with this $10,700 payday pushing his earnings to $38,244 for the year and $64,231 lifetime.

The FSBOA closed out the festivities with a food fest for all horsepeople and guests attending the races today.


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