Audley, Aylor Stakes At Sunshine Meadows

Standardbred hooves
Published: December 2, 2023 10:49 pm EST

The Florida Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association (FSBOA) hosted tributes to two Florida legends of the past, Melvyn Aylor and Tom Audley, in the form of stakes races for two-year-olds and three-year-olds on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Held at the spacious Sunshine Meadows Equestrian Village, the Aylor Memorial events featured the juveniles while the Audley had the spotlight on the sophomore group with a total of $45,750 in purses.

Hall of Famer Wally Hennessey, Mickey McNichol and Kevin Wallis, a trio of drivers with combined wins approaching 27,000, won seven of the eight races this day with only amateur driver Tony Dinges able to reach the winner’s circle and avoid a “sweep” by three of the top horsemen in the sport—Hennessey with a grand slam, McNichol with a driving double and Wallis with a single win. 

On the training side of the ledger, Nick Coblentz had a triple and McNichol scored a double.

Here’s a recap of the action:


Bellarina Jet (sired by Odina Jet), driven by Wally Hennessey for trainer Coblentz and Amante Standardbreds, took advantage of a miscue by her only rival, Ps Just Peachy, handled by Marshall Makin, and let every stride of a mile in 2:05.3. The win sent the filly’s scorecard to a perfect five-for-five, good for $23,702 lifetime—all earned over the past month. The mile was clocked in 2:05.3 off panels of :32.1, 1:03.2 and 1:34.1.


Okeechobee Jet, once again, made it a “daily double” sweep for driver Hennessey, trainer Coblentz, owner Amante Standardbreds and sire Odina Jet with a sharp 2:02.1 mile, highlighted by a final half in :59.1. Away third in the field of five, Okeechobie Jet, beginning from the outside post, settled in third, about five lengths away, through an opener in :30.1 and then blasted his way to the front, reaching the half in a very comfortable 1:03. Repelling a modest bud around the final bend, the winner began edging away in the final stages to score by 2-1/4 lengths over Legacys Casanova, driven by Coblentz, himself, with Watching The Mets, with Dinges in his bike, next. Prairie Friendly applied a bit of pressure on the leader around the final turn by finished fourth while Prairie Possession picked up the nickel. The winner, by the way, is now a perfect five-for-five with bounty of $22,100 over her career spanning 28 days.


Prairie Kitten (sired by Royal Millennium), with Hennessey driving, scored a handy win measuring 4-1/2 lengths and, in the process, lowered her former “record” of 2:17.3 (a walkover) to 2:00.2. Away close-up from her number one post by getting away in the garden spot, she brushed to the lead once they straightened away on the backside and sprinted away in the lane after meeting a challenge turning for home. Dance With Destiney, driven by Joe Sanzeri, rallied for second, just a neck ahead of Sweet Scarlet, teamed with Dinges. Trained by Laurie Poulin, she co-owns with Fred Morosini and Patricia Fritz. When asked about the journey, Hennessey smiled and said, “Prairie Kitten got the ‘purr’-fect drive,” adding, “Get it? Kitten purring?”


Gator Pledthefifth (sired by Well Said), superbly driven by McNichol, overcame the outside post (five) in his field and went on to score a very handy three-length win in a lifetime best 1:59, eclipsing her former record of a week ago by three-fifths of a second. Springing off the wings with alacrity, Gator Pledthefifth took charge early and got to the opener in :30 before yielding to Prairie Gorgeous and Hennessey heading to the half. After a :59.3 clocking half-way through, McNichol began gnawing away at the leader turning for home and sprinted clear late. Prairie Rocknroll, with Dinges, was third while Prairie Schiever and Sons Pet The Gator were next. Trained by McNichol for George Birkhold, Gator Pledthefifth sent his scorecard to 2-2-0 in just four starts, elevating his bounty to $9,186.


Kings Sweetheart (sired by Big Chocolate), who had been knocking at the door in three previous here at Sunshine Meadows, finally broke the door down and scored a gate-to-wire win for Wallis, stopping the timer in 2:00. Wallis gave the filly a crafty drive, sending her right off the wings to the front while clocking early panels of :29.1 and :59.1. As a mid threat developed during the third quarter, Wallis put his filly in another gear by reaching the third station in 1:28—with that :28.4 third panel enough to thwart the challenge of the pocket-sitting Legacys Jailbreak, handled by Dinges. Though seemingly tiring a bit near the wire, Kings Sweetheart was never in danger, scoring by 1-3/4 lengths. Madaboutchocolate was next for Marshall Makin while Atlantic Wave and Prairie Range also got cheques in the field of six. Marshall Makin also trains Kings Sweetheart and co-owns with Rebecca Glassford. The win was the second of the season and third lifetime for Kings Sweetheart with lifetime earnings now at $32,068.


Rhinestone Camo (sired by Southwind Camo) got immaculate handling from McNichol in the garden spot much of the way and rallied past the leader Seminole Moon, when that one made a miscue late in the hands of Frank Affront, and then held off the late-surging Prairie Nugget, with Hennessey in the sulky, to score by a head in a tight photo. Seminole Moon did finish third but was disqualified and placed fourth for a lapped on break with Prairie Famous and driver Dinges moved up a notch to third. McNichol also trains the three-year-old for George C. L. Birkhold, with Rhinestone Camo getting his first win of the year in nine starts and completing the mile in 1:58, annihilating his former mark from last year by five full seconds.


Flo Jo (sired by Keystone Velocity) lived up to her “Olympic status” name by scoring a 12-length win for Hennessey in 1:56.4. Making a quarter move to the front right at the opening marker in :30.3. Flo Jo sprinted away after a 1:00 half and put six lengths of separation on her foes during a :27.2 third panel before strolling home in :29.2 to score in 1:56.4 over Twowordsmadein USA, driven by Rob Hoffman. Prairie Lynx was third for Wallis in this trio. Flo Jo is undefeated in six starts this year with this victory vaulting her lifetime bankroll to $31,947. The winner is trained by Coblentz, giving him a training triple, for owner Mr. Dale Witcher II.


Easy As That (sired by Carver Hanover) made the job of driver-trainer Dinges “easy as that” in scoring a sharp wire-to-wire score in 1:57. The sophomore, who last two wins at this oval were gate-to-wire, as well, used the inside post to perfection in zipping to an opening panel in :28.4 and then got superior rating to a half in :59.4. During the third panel, there was a brief threat from Flying For Trev but a :27.1 sprint quashed that and, in the final stages, only a late-charging The Honkytonk, driven by Hennessey, could get within two lengths at the wire. Flying For Trev was third for Affront while Gator Grown and Constant Velocity were next in the quintet. Owned by Lee Clarke, East As That now has four wins in 2023 and bounty of $27,544, vaulting his lifetime bankroll to $53,531.

The FSBOA season concludes next Saturday, Dec. 9 with a Super Saturday program with post time set for 11 a.m.


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