Three Rules dominates the Dr. Fager
Shade Tree Thoroughbreds’ Three Rules overwhelmed eight rivals Saturday at Gulfstream Park, running off to a seven-length victory in the $ 200,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Sire Stakes while needing little encouragement from his confident jockey, Cornelio Velasquez.
The undefeated 2-year-old son of Gone Astray has now won his three races, including two stakes, by a combined 15 ½ lengths without exerting himself , distinguishing himself as a rising star and a strong candidate to sweep the 2016 Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida.
“He’s a special horse. He’s a runner. He was galloping today,” trainer Jose Pinchin said. “He’s the real deal. He should probably be in Saratoga,”
The Dr. Fager, along with the $ 200,000 Desert Vixen for fillies, highlighted Saturday’s Florida Sire Stakes program that included five stakes worth $ 775,000 in purses. The tradition-rich FSS series continues with the $ 300,000 Affirmed (at seven furlongs) Sept. 3 and the $ 500,000 In Reality (at 1 1/16 miles) Oct. 1.
Owner/breeder Bert Pilcher expressed excitement but not surprise over Three Rules’ stunning domination of his competition, recalling the moment when he recognized that his homebred is special.
“When I pulled him out of his mother and he stood up. He’s been a different kind of horse since Day 1,” Pilcher said. “The night he was born, he got up and played all night long in his stall without lying down.”
Three Rules played with his foes in the six-furlong Dr. Fager, breaking alertly from his outside post position to press pacesetter Awesome Standard along the backstretch and far turn. The striking dark bay colt began to edge away from the tiring pacesetter on the turn into the homestretch before dashing away from his rivals without much urging from Velasquez.
“He’s a very nice horse; he won easy today. I wasn’t trying to go to the lead, but he wanted to,” Velasquez said. “At the three-eighths pole I gave him a little break and I knew I could ask him any time. He can run. He has a lot of gas.”
Blessed Halo, a 60-1 longshot ridden by Miguel Vasquez, finished second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Pinchin-trained Front Loaded, who finished another 2 ¼ lengths in front of the John Kimmel-trained New York invader, Jewel Heist.
Favored at 3-5, Three Rules dashed six furlongs in a swift 1:09.49.
Following his first two dominating victories, Pilcher received and rejected lucrative offers from prospective buyers. A commercial breeder first and foremost, Pilcher has resisted the temptation to sell thus far.
“I was standing in the (Ocala Breeders’ Sale) office with the paperwork,” he said. “I went to give the girl the papers and said, ‘This horse is not going to bring what he’s worth. He’s going to bring a lot of money but not what he’s worth.’ ”
His value soared after Saturday’s performance in the Dr. Fager and with lucrative Florida Sire Stakes opportunities coming up. The longer distances of the Affirmed and the In Reality shouldn’t be a problem, said Pinchin, who won two legs of the 2014 FSS with Holywell and one leg in last year’s series with It’s High Time.
“I think he’ll get a mile, mile-and-change easy,” Pinchin said.
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