Nicks Hoping To ‘Breeze’ To Fourth FSS Affirmed Victory In A Row

A resilient winner of the $100,000 Dr. Fager Aug. 1, Breeze On By will seek his second straight FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes victory in the $200,000 Affirmed at Gulfstream Park Saturday while giving trainer Ralph Nicks a solid shot at his fourth consecutive success in the seven-furlong event for 2-year-olds sired by accredited Florida stallions.

The Affirmed will co-headline Saturday’s Florida Sire Stakes program at Gulfstream with the $200,000 Susan’s Girl, a seven-furlong event for juvenile fillies. The $75,000 Proud Man, a mile turf stakes for 2-year-olds and the $75,000 Sharp Susan, a mile turf stakes for juvenile fillies, will be supporting stakes on a 12-race program. The Affirmed will be included in the Rainbow 6 sequence Saturday, when a mandatory payout is scheduled.

Nicks has saddled the Affirmed winner the past three seasons, scoring with Soutache (2017), Garter and Tie (2018) and Liam’s Lucky Charm (2019).

“Six, seven years, I’ve been here now. After the second year, I knew I had to competitive in the sire stakes,” said Nicks, who made a decision to base his stable year-round in South Florida when Gulfstream Park instituted a Spring/Summer Meet. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have clients to send me horses that are eligible for that and I’ve been fortunate enough to have some with the talent to get it done. The racing gods have allowed us to put it all together on those days.”

Breeze On By gave Nicks his seventh Florida Sire Stakes success since 2006, while providing Gilbert Campbell’s Stonehedge Farm with a 13th victory in the prestigious tradition-rich series while winning the six-furlong Dr. Fager. (Michael Yates-trained Go Jo Jo Go upped that total to 14 for Stonehedge with a win in the Aug. 1 FSS Desert Vixen.)

The gelded son of Cajun Breeze, who made a rather auspicious debut while capturing a July 12 maiden special weight race at Gulfstream by six lengths, set the pace in the six-furlong Dr. Fager before meeting a strong challenge from Gatsby at the top of the stretch. After Gatsby put his nose in front in mid-stretch, Breeze On By fought back gamely to prevail by a length.

“He seemed to have handled the pressure of two races close together. It looks like he put some weight on and matured some more, so hopefully he’ll move forward from here,” Nicks said. “He’s a big rangy horse. I think he’ll handle [seven furlongs] fine. It’ll depend on pace scenarios and set-up, but time will tell on that.”

Emisael Jaramillo has the return call.

Nicks and Stonehedge will also be represented in the Affirmed by a pair of promising maiden winners, Seazan and Big Daddy Dave.

Seazan, a gelded son of Khozan who finished second in his June 10 debut in a $50,000 maiden claimer, stepped up to capture a seven-furlong maiden special weight race on the Dr. Fager undercard.

“He might be a bit of a sleeper in there. In his second start at seven-eighths of a mile, he really liked it. He’s a horse that’s definitely going to run on down the racetrack,” Nicks said.

Samy Camacho has the mount aboard Seazan.

Big Daddy Dave, also a gelded son of Khozan, captured his debut by 3 ¼ lengths May 30.

“We gave him time after his debut and we were pointing him to the first leg. When he came back he ended up getting sick,” Nicks said. “I think he’ll run well.”

Edgard Zayas has the call aboard Big Daddy Dave.

Nicks is confident in the abilities of the three prominent South Florida jockeys to give their mounts their best chances for success.

“I like my hand going into it. Any of the three are capable. Hopefully, they’ll stay out of each other’s way,” Nicks said. “There are some different dimensions there. Big Daddy Dave and Breeze On By can control the early part of the race if wanted. They both could stalk and set off, and Seazan is an obvious closer. We’ll try and let it play out. It’ll be up to Jaramillo, Zayas and Camacho to see what happens.”

Top Boss, another gelded son of Khozan, will give Stonehedge a fourth chance to boost its gaudy FSS numbers. The Kathleen O’Connell-trained Top Boss captured a $50,000 maiden claiming race by 7 ½ lengths in his fourth career start.

Hall of Famer Edgar Prado has the call aboard the Stonehedge hombred.

Arindel’s Gatsby, an impressive winner of his April 12 debut, rebounded from an off-the-board finish in the June 27 Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs with his gusty second-place finish in the Dr. Fager. The homebred son of Brethren pulled off an upset victory over heavily favored Golden Pal in his April 12 debut at 4 ½ furlongs at Gulfstream, chasing the Wesley Ward-trained odds-on favorite into the stretch before edging clear by three-quarters of a length. Golden Pal has gone on to impress on turf, finishing second in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot and winning last week’s Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga handily by 3 ½ lengths.

Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa’s Famous Gent made a middle move from back in the pack and raced evenly thereafter to finish fourth in the Dr. Fager.

Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained Famous Gent, who broke his maiden in the second career start, entered the Dr. Fager off a troubled third-place finish behind highly regarded Papetu in the first juvenile allowance race of the Spring/Summer Meet.

The son of First Dude will be ridden by Christian Torres.

Flying Finish Farm’s Florala Al, Vicente Stella Stables LLC’s Grey Dom and Just For Fun Inc.’s Advance Cash round out the field.

The post Nicks Hoping To ‘Breeze’ To Fourth FSS Affirmed Victory In A Row appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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