Three Rules, Mo Cash Likely To Renew Rivalry In Marion County FSS

A pair of accomplished Florida-bred 3-year-olds, Three Rules and Mo Cash, are likely to strut their stuff on Dec. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs in the $125,000 Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association Marion County Florida Sire Stakes.

The multiple stakes winners staged a thrilling duel on July 1 in the Grade 3, 7-furlong Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream Park, with Three Rules reeling in the pace-setting gelding Mo Cash in the final strides to post a neck victory.

The 7-furlong Marion County FSS will be the first race since then for Three Rules, a winner of five stakes who has earned more than $900,000.

“He needed a rest after his last race, so we sent him back to the farm [Shade Tree Thoroughbreds near Ocala] for 60 days before he came back to the track,” said Jose Pinchin, who trains Three Rules at Gulfstream.

“He’s a good work horse, and he’s been doing well in his training. He is probably better than he was before the layoff,” Pinchin said of the son of Northwest Stud stallion Gone Astray out of Joy Rules, by Full Mandate.

That isn’t what Ronald Spatz, the trainer of Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore Stakes winner Mo Cash, wanted to hear.

“If you can talk [Pinchin] out of running, I’ll be beholden to you,” Spatz said, tongue in cheek. “I would actually feel a lot better if he wasn’t in there.”

That’s understandable. Three Rules began his 2-year-old campaign with five consecutive victories, including a sweep of the three-race Florida Sire Stakes series for juveniles (the Dr. Fager, Affirmed and In Reality) at Gulfstream Park by a combined 22 ½ lengths.

Following a sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita, Three Rules began 2017 by finishing second in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes, followed by a third in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth behind Gunnevera and Practical Joke. Four weeks later, Three Rules finished fifth in the Grade 1 Florida Derby – won by eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming – after leading until the top of the stretch of the mile-and-an-eighth race.

“Any distance up to and including a mile should be his best journey,” Pinchin said. “He has plenty of speed, and we’re hoping this race at Tampa will move him forward for something else after the first of the year.”

Spatz’s disclaimer aside, Mo Cash – a gelded son of Ocala Stud stallion Adios Charlie out of Mo’s Prize, by Eltish – might be at his best at the 7-furlong Marion County FSS distance. Both of his stakes victories were 7-furlong races, and he won the Florida Cup Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore here on April 2 in 1:22.40, a mere .27 seconds off the stakes record.

“We gave him a vacation (after a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga on July 29) and got a race into him at Gulfstream Park West (on Nov. 26), and hopefully that will be enough to springboard him into a successful trip at Tampa,” Spatz said.

Other possible starters in the Marion County FSS include Zipping and Epic Drama.

Zipping was third in the Nov. 11 Millions Classic Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park West in his last start and was also second in the Bear’s Den Stakes at Gulfstream Park in September. The son of Ocala Stud stallion Adios Charlie is out of Miss Zip, by City Zip and is trained by Roger Laurin for owner and breeder Laurin Stable.

Epic Drama, who was third in the American Fabius Stakes at Gulfstream in February, is a Harold Queen homebred trained by David Fawkes.

The Marion County FSS is one of four stakes races scheduled on a card that traditionally has been called Cotillion Festival Day and featured a full slate of races for 2-year-olds. It has been enhanced by the addition of the Marion County FSS and its 3-year-old filly equivalent, the $125,000, 7-furlong FTBOA City of Ocala FSS, which is expected to feature the return to Oldsmar of three-time 2016-2017 Tampa Bay Downs season stakes winner R Angel Katelyn.

Both races are being sponsored by the FTBOA.

The afternoon of competitive stakes excitement will also include two traditional Oldsmar favorites: the 33rd running of the $100,000, 6-furlong Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-old males and the 39th edition of the $100,000, 6-furlong Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

The Cotillion Festival Day celebration kicks off a 2017-2018 Tampa Bay Downs schedule that includes 28 stakes races offering a track-record $3.65-million in purse money.

The Dec. 16 festivities kick off with the “Welcome Back” EG Vodka Brunch at the Downs Presented by PDQ from 10:30 a.m.-noon. For $8, patrons will receive scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, fresh fruit, beverages and pastries, along with Grandstand admission and a Tampa Bay Downs racing program.

Based on her performances here last season, trainer Gerald Bennett’s R Angel Katelyn is worth the price of admission. She won the Sandpiper, Gasparilla and Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies here last season and finished third in the Suncoast Stakes, behind Tapa Tapa Tapa and subsequent Grade 1 winner Elate.

Bennett was delighted with R Angel Katelyn’s 5-furlong workout from the gate on Nov. 29 in 59 seconds, the fastest of 17 recorded workouts that day at the distance. “She is doing really well and should be tough in (the City of Ocala FSS),” Bennett said. “That was a really good workout with a strong gallop-out. Coming off the track, she is cleaning up all her feed.

“She just needs a little bit better than a two-minute lick between now and the race to be ready, that’s all,” he added.

Also nominated to the City of Ocala FSS are Katinka, who was last seen winning the $100,000 Miss Gracie Stakes at Gulfstream in September; Bones, a daughter of Kantharos who won an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream by more than five lengths two starts back; Joyful Noise, who was fourth in the Take Charge Brandi Stakes at Delta Downs in March, Keep Your Head Up, who is looking for her fourth career win but first added money tally; and Stormy Embrace, most recently third in the Millions Distaff Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 11.

The post Three Rules, Mo Cash Likely To Renew Rivalry In Marion County FSS appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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