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.