Empire Equines’ homebred Fifty Five got her first graded stakes win in Saturday’s G3 Florida Oaks, rolling from last to just nail her rivals at the wire in a well-timed ride by Jose Ortiz. The 3-year-old daughter of Get Stormy set a new stakes record on Tampa Bay’s firm turf, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.60 for trainer Thomas M. Bush. The old mark of 1:41.89 was set by Tapicat in 2013.
“She’s a heartthrob, because she always comes from behind like that,” said John Crowe, who bred and owns Fifty Five with his wife Sandy under their Empire Equines banner.
“When (jockey Jose Ortiz) took her back early, I thought ‘She’s done this before,’ ” said Sandy Crowe. “But when they turned for home, I said ‘Get her moving, get her moving.’ ”
Like a Hurricane jumped out of the gate in a manner reminiscent of her name, rushing up to the lead and bidding to steal the race on the front end. She stole out to a six-length lead around the first turn, setting early fractions of :22.83 and :46.90. She was tracked by Dynatail, Valentine Wish and Compelled, while the race favorite La Coronel traveled comfortably in sixth early on, nearly 10 lengths off the lead. Fifty Five, meanwhile, was last of all until nearly the five-sixteenths pole.
Rounding the far turn, Daddys Lil Darling shot up toward the lead, along with a four-wide La Coronel and Dynatail to her inside. Compelled was lying in wait along the rail just behind those top four, who spread themselves four across the track rounding into the stretch. Compelled found a seam along the rail to join La Coronel on the front end in early stretch, but Fifty Five had saved a bit of ground around the far turn and angled wide under Ortiz at the head of the lane. Fifty Five was moving best of all late, and got up over La Coronel by about a neck at the wire. La Coronel was another neck or so in front of Compelled, and Dynatail held on to be fourth.
“The trainer (Thomas M. Bush) just told me to keep patient and when you ask her, she is going to give you a big run,” Ortiz said. “I just tried to follow (La Coronel) because I knew she was going to be tough, and as soon as we passed the eighth pole, I knew we had a decent chance to win.”
Bred in New York out of a mare by Brahms, Fifty Five had previously finished third in the G3 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream Park, entering that spot after just maiden and non-two allowance victories. Her earnings of over $ 190,000 stem from three wins over five career starts, and the late-running filly has never finished worse than third.
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