Donald Dizney’s Dude Fantasy ($ 9.60) belied her inexperience with a thoroughly professional performance in the $ 500,000 Florida Sire My Dear Girl Stakes today at Gulfstream Park. Favored Cajun Delta Dawn, marooned in post 13, had the lead until midstretch, but tired late and sustained her first career defeat.
A daughter of Dizney’s standout First Dude, Dude Fantasy made a winning debut going six furlongs on September 2 at Gulfstream, and that encouraged trainer Ralph Nicks to enter her in this valuable affair.
“Just the way she won her first start, the way she did it that day,” Nicks said. “She’s never made any mistakes, and that wins a lot of baby races.”
Drawn advantageously in post five while stretching out to two turns, Dude Fantasy secured a ground-saving trip under jockey Tyler Gaffalione while sitting just behind the early leaders. Cajun Delta Dawn was hustled out of the gate and went out to force the pace. The winner of the first two Florida Sire Stakes races turned for home with the lead and dug in gamely, but tired in the final 50 yards. Dude Fantasy bided her time, then knifed her way between rivals in midstretch and hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front of Surprise Wedding. Another Donald Dizney colorbearer, Fleet Dude, squeaked past Cajun Delta Dawn to get third by a head.
“The race set up beautiful for me,” Gaffalione said. “I just followed Cajun Delta Dawn the whole way. Around the turn I had a lot of horse, but I just waited and waited. When I found the spot, my filly just ran. I can’t thank Ralph [Nicks] enough and the owner, Mr. Dizney. She was very professional in her first start and the dirt never bothered her. I could just put her where I wanted her and she’d get the job done.”
The My Dear Girl was the first career loss for Curtis Mikkelsen’s Cajun Delta Dawn, who had swept through her first four appearances in grand style.
“The post killed her [Cajun Delta Dawn],” trainer David Fawkes summed up. “I just talked to [jockey] Juan [Leyva] and he said, ‘I had to use her. Otherwise, I’m going to get killed.’ He rode a smart race. He did everything right. What did we get beat? A length? She ran huge.”
Fawkes also saddled runner-up Surprise Wedding for owner William A. T. Rainbow.
“Surprise Wedding ran huge,” Fawkes said. “I really liked her today. I thought she’d run a big race, and she did. She just couldn’t get to the other horse in time.”
Bred by Dizney at his Double Diamond Farm in Ocala, Dude Fantasy was offered for sale at the OBS this past April, but failed to meet her reserve at $ 25,000. Her My Dear Girl triumph took her career earnings to $ 331,000.
“They did a great job with her at Double Diamond,” Nicks added. “She came in here like an old horse—everything we’ve ever done with her has been easy to accomplish. [In the stretch] I was hoping Cornelio [Velasquez, on Fleet Dude] on Mr. Dizney’s other horse would give her a break. He was trying to keep her pinned down behind David’s filly [Cajun Delta Dawn]. But fortunately Tyler was aggressive enough and pushed her out and she prevailed at the end.”
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