Freshmen Shine In Florida Stakes

Published: November 15, 2021 10:29 am EST

The Florida Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association sponsored Sunshine State Stakes finals for the two year-olds highlighted the Sunday (Nov. 14) action at Pompano Park.

Four $10,000 finals were contested -- three non-betting events -- with Gs Independence, Prince Of Sussex and Cowboy Cool taking the early events and Come On Spank Me kicking off the festivities on the pari-mutuel card.

Gs Independence took advantage of an early miscue by the previously unbeaten Charis to score an ever-so-easy win in the filly trot as this daughter of Big Chocolate hit the line in 2:03.2 for a maiden win measuring 41-1/4 lengths.

Trainer Jim McDonald was in her bike as she carded fractions of :30, 1:00.2 and 1:30.4 along the way, stretching her margin with every stride over Im Solar Poweree (Marc Major) with Charis (Wally Hennessey) next in the trio.

Owned by Dan and Jacalyn Boddie along with McDonald, Gs Independence, benefitting from a 55 per cent split of the purse, now had $8,705 on her card.

In the trot for juvenile colts and geldings, Prince Of Sussex, a gelded son of Creatine with victories in the first three legs of the Sunshine State Stakes of 64-1/2, 53-1/4 and 40 lengths, respectively, proved, once again, that manners count as he blasted off the wings and scored a 52 length win in 2:01.3 for Wally Hennessey. Ditchemkwik N Howe (Mike Deters) was the distant second while Gator Force (Ken Holliday) was next over Oh No Not Again. The fractions along the way were :30.2, 1:01.2 and 1:31.1.

Prince Of Sussex is trained by Jake Huff for Heather Wilder and Herman Brewer and he, too, benefitted from the 55 per cent share of the purse to send his seasonal bankroll to $54,984.

In the pacing event with a quintet of geldings going to the gate, Cowboy Cool (Hennessey) overcame the outside post and scored a gate-to-wire win in 1:56 with Gold Star Sven (Corey Braden) giving futile chase all the way and a length back at the wire. Prairie Handsome (Deters) was next while Forever Joe K and Gator At The Well followed.

With fractions of :28.2, :59.2 and 1:28.3, Cowboy Cool, by Western Terror, used a :27.2 finale to seal the deal for his fourth straight success in the Sunshine State Stakes.

He's earned $22,919 for the season for trainer Rod Lorenzo, who co-owns with Souren Hovsepian.

In an oddity of sorts, the order of finish was exactly the same in all four legs of the Sunshine State Stakes for this particular class.

On the betting card, the final of the two-year-old filly pace appeared to be a budding rivalry between Come On Spank Me and Prairie Merida...and that's just what transpired.

With these two trading places up top, Come On Spank Me, superbly handled by Dale Hiteman, accelerated away in deep stretch to score a 2 1/2-length win over Prairie Merida (Braxten Boyd) in 1:56.1. Benicio (Mike Micallef) was a vastly improved third in just her second lifetime start while PJs Fancy Dancer was fourth. Neverouttathefight picked up the nickel in the field of seven.

At the outset, Prairie Merida blasted off the wings from her outside post to take charge through a :28.3 opener before yielding to Come On Spank Me, who set subsequent fractions of :57.3 and 1:27.3 before that :28.3 kick home sealed the deal.

Come On Spank Me, a daughter of Tellitlikeitis, is also trained by Hiteman for the DTM Stable and has bounty of $15,218 in her young career.

The $12,600 Open II Handicap Pace went to Statement Made A, handled by Wally Hennessey. The eight-year-old gelded Down Under bred son of Bettors Delight made a confident quarter move (:27.2) to the top and led the rest of the journey, putting up numbers of :56.1 and 1:23.1 before coasting home in :28.2 to score by a length in 1:51.3. Rocksapatriot (Dave Ingraham) was a fast closing second while an even faster closing Agedchedar Hanover (Boyd) was another lip back in third. The early leader Normandy Beach was fourth while the favoured Actor Hanover got the final award in the septet.

"Yes, he had to step up a notch but I thought he was as competitive as any in there," said Hennessey after the race. "I thought that a quarter-move was appropriate to try and control things and I let him loose on the backside to kind of thwart any threats. When you're going a :27 on the backside, it's tough to do any gaining. I've been on that side of the fence before and it usually doesn't work out trying to make headway on a quarter like that."

Statement Made A is trained by Tee Wine for the Jemaxpo Racing Stable and now sports a 7-3-4 scorecard in 32 starts, good for $48,932 this semester and $249,091 career-wise.

As the fourth choice in the betting, Statement Made A paid $13 to win.

The $11,000 Open III went to Villiam, handled by Joe Chindano Jr.

The four-year-old gelded son of Rock N Roll Heaven, leaving from the outside nine post, took charge just a few long strides off the wings and wired his foes through fractions of :27, :56 and 1:23.1 before hitting the line in 1:51.3 -- his margin 1-3/4 over Maxdaddy Blue Chip (Rick Plano) with Raksmach N (Boyd) third. Rock This Way was fourth while Lincoln James was next.

Owned by Anthony Evgenikos, Villiam scored his ninth win of the year to send his 2021 earnings to $61,041. He's banked $194,355 lifetime.

Villiam paid $26.60 to win.

Chindano had a driving triple on the card, also driving Sand Sniper ($3.00) and CC Big Boy Sam ($6.80) to the winner's circle.

The latter winner competed in a $4,000-$6,000 claiming pace featuring many of the elder equine statesmen of the sport with more than $1.8 million in collective earnings covering almost 1,800 starts! CC Big Boy Sam, an 11 year-old altered son of Nobleland Sam, earned his 41st career win while banking $312,354. He's now owned by trainer Leopold Sawyers.

Rick Plano, back at Pompano for his fall debut, had a driving double, scoring with Brilliant Strike N ($3.40) and Hot Art ($21.00), the latter keying a 20-cent Super Hi-5 payout of $18,782.38.

Racing continues on Monday with the three-year-olds in action in the Sunshine State Stakes finals and a carryover in the Pick-6 of $4,472 with post time set for 7:20 p.m.

(With files from Pompano Park)