Close is only good in horseshoes and hand granades. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Close but no cigar.
Well, you get the point.
It was a day of near misses in big races for Florida-breds on Saturday as five horses that are a product of the Sunshine State finished second in five different graded races around the country. Obviously, finishing second is not as good as winning, but a near miss in a graded stake is nothing to sneeze at and quite frankly, is a proud accomplishment.
Plus, it does create some very nice black type. And black type with a “Gr” in a sale catalogue or stallion advertisement can often have a positive financial impact that is far greater than the difference between a first and second-place check in a race.
In the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes for older fillies and mares at Keeneland, the Adena Springs-bred mare Bay to Bay finished second to winner Daisy Devine in the 1 1/16-mile race.
It happened twice at Oaklawn Park as Santa Anita Handicap (Gr. 1) winner Ron the Greek, who was bred by Jack T. Hammer, made a furious rally in the final strides of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap but was unable to catch winner Alternation. Earlier that day at the Arkansas track, Donald Dizney’s homebred 5-year-old horse Apriority, was caught five wide in the far turn of the six furlong Count Fleet (G3), then drifted out in the stretch to lose narrowly to Outta Tune.
Duke of Mischief, a product of Marilyn McMaster’s Florida breeding program, tried to defend his title in the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) and looked like he might repeat when he took the lead at the top of the stretch. But the successful defense was not to be as he was caught and passed by eventual winner Caixa Electronica.
Further north in New York, C C’s Pal was unable to pull the upset over It’s Tricky, but hung on for second in the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap. Bred in Florida by Beth Bayer, the 5-year-old mare is also a $7,000 graduate of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company October Sale as a weanling in 2007.
Do not despair too much Florida breeders. There were plenty of Florida-bred winners on the day including Master Rick, winner of the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn and Immortal Eyes’ victory in the Webb Snyder Stakes at Charles Town.
Florida-breds also won several nice allowance races that day including June Cleaver, a Paul Sharp-bred filly who captured a $49,000 non-winners other than race at Keeneland; They Call Him El, a 5-year-old gelding bred by Tiffany A. Atteberry DVM and Beth Hendry who won a similarly conditioned $33,040 allowance race at Golden Gate; and Joyous Music, who was bred in Florida by John O. Sutton and won a $35,000 allowance event at Charles Town. E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Florida home-bred R King of the Road also took a very nice $62,000 allowance at Aqueduct.
Oaklawn fans witnessed Deadly Card, a 3-year-old Florida gelding bred by Guilherme and Angela Bombonato, break his maiden; while Jewelian Rose did the same a Tampa Bay Downs for breeder Annie-o-Productions.