Jacks or Better Farm’s Awesome Banner ($ 3.40) nosed out Mr. Kisses to prevail in the $ 150,000 Florida Sire Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
The 3-year-old colt came away cleanly under jockey Tyler Gaffalione and settled into third on the outside. Mr. Kisses made the running and turned for home primed to upset the favorite, but Awesome Banner battled on gamely to earn his second straight victory.
“He just kept grinding away,” Gaffalione said. “I knew at the top of the lane it was going to be a dogfight. My horse kept digging in, digging in. When he gets in that fight, he does everything he can to get back in front.”
Owner and breeder Fred Brei was on hand to welcome his stable star.
“It was quite the horse race,” Brei said. “I was expecting that he’d be on the lead by the stretch. But he’s changing, he’s maturing, and it’s really starting to show. Because before he would have gone to the lead in :21 and :44. On this track, I think he did well.”
Awesome Banner was timed in 1:36.84 for the one-mile Foolish Pleasure. The son of Awesome of Course romped in both the Hutcheson Stakes (G3) and Swale Stakes (G2) earlier this season for trainer Stanley Gold, but faltered in a pair of route races and later joined the Mark Casse string. Awesome Banner settled for second as the odds-on choice in both the Carry Back Stakes (G3) on July 2 and the $ 150,000 Florida Sire Unbridled Stakes on August 6. He showed a new dimension last out in the $ 150,000 Florida Sire Prized Stakes on September 3.
Awesome Banner, who has now earned $ 512,335 in winning six of 10 career starts, will now be freshened up in Ocala.
“He’ll go home for now and be back for the Mr. Prospector in December,” Brei added. “He’ll get a break because he’s had a hard year.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2016 Paulick Report.