Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stallion Stakes Sweep Possible for Campbell-O’Connell Team

by Jim Freer                                                                                        

Fans of 2-year-old racing in Florida are circling Saturday Oct. 12 on their calendars.

That’s the date when My Brown Eyed  Guy  and  Scandalous Act, both bred and owned by Gilbert Campbell and trained by  Kathleen  O:Connell, will attempt to carry out historic sweeps in the Florida Stallion  Stakes Series.

Last Saturday at Calder Casino & Race Course, those stablemates were runaway winners of the second legs of  their  divisions of  the  three-race series for 2-year-olds.  My  Brown Eyed Guy  won the Affirmed Stakes for  males and  Scandalous Act  won  the  Susan’s Girl Stakes for  fillies - both at seven furlongs on dirt.

Barring injuries or other setbacks, My Brown Eyed  Guy will be in the  $300,000  In Reality Stakes and  Scandalous Act will head the field in  the  $300,00 My Dear Girl at Calder on October 12th. Both races are 1-1/16 miles on the dirt.

History is possible for two reasons:

*Campbell and O’Connell will seek to become the first owner-trainer team to sweep the Stallion Stakes divisions in the same year.

*This probably will be the last Stallion Stakes series at Calder, which has held the annual event each year since its inception in 1982.

Before the end of this month, it is widely expected that the sponsoring Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association will award the series to Gulfstream Park for 2014 and for several future years.

Until this year, Calder was the only Florida track with racing during the August to October period of the Stallion Stakes.
In July, Gulfstream and Calder began their new schedules in which they are both racing year-round each Saturday and Sunday.
The Stallion Stakes series is open to sons and daughters of Florida-based stallions whose owners nominate them for the program.  Each series race has various monetary bonus awards for those owners.
Saturday’s Stallion Stakes races were among six stakes for 2-year-olds on Calder’s annual Juvenile Showcase day.

Antonio Gallardo was the winning rider in four of the stakes---with three for Campbell and O’Connell. 

His wins included the Affirmed and Susan’s Girl, where he was a substitute for Eduardo Nunez.
In the Catcharisingstar, the race prior to the Susan’s Girl, Nunez was thrown from his mount Lovely Lexi shortly after the start.
Even though Nunez and the horse did not suffer serious injuries, he did not ride any races later in the day.
Lovely Lexi is part of the O’Connell-Campbell team.  Gallardo rode Secret Kitten to victory in the Catcharisingstar. That filly also is owned by Campbell and trained by O’Connell.
Nunez is usually the first call rider for O’Connell and he can be expected to ride her two horses in the Stallion Stakes races on Oct. 12.                                                                                    

My Brown Eyed Guy came into the Affirmed after winning the series opening Dr. Fager Stakes at six furlongs on Aug. 6

He led the Affirmed almost the entire race and beat Best Plan Yet by 2 ¼ lengths. The winning time was 1:24.87 on a track listed as fast.

Scandalous Act won the filly division opener Desert Vixen Stakes at six furlongs on Au, 6

She led the Susan’s Girl gate to wire and won by 8 ¾ lengths over Quinn at in 1:25.06..
On Saturday, Gallardo also rode the  winner Flat Out Charming in the Lindsay Frolic Stakes at one mile on dirt  for  fillies  She  is  owned by  Vegso Racing  Stable  and  trained  by Rodolfo Garcia.
Calder’s  next  stakes for  2-year-olds will be the Foolish  Pleasure for  males and  the Brave  Raj  for  fillies on  Sept. 14.  Both are one mille and 70 yards on dirt. 
Neither race is restricted to Florida-breds.  The fields could include some of the horses that ran in Juvenile Showcase races.

It is possible that O’Connell could bring  My  Brown Eyed Guy and/or  Scandalous Act  back that day  if  she  thinks either needs  a race  before Oct. 12.

O’Connell trains horses for numerous owners, with Campbell  as a major  long-time  client.
Campbell is a former real estate developer who lives in Ocala.
Campbell, O’Connell and Nunez  are  members  of the Calder  Hall of Fame.

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