The Florida HBPA Stakes Series Soldier’s Dancer provided a fitting close to a fantastic day of racing at Gulfstream, where handle on the race drew $1,038,478.
In an exciting scramble to the finish, 20-1 longshot and Vegso Racing Stable-owned Mystic Sky flew by 25-1 pace-setter My Point Exactly to take the Soldier’s Dancer in impressive fashion. Meanwhile, 3 to 5 odds-on-favorite and Mike Maker-trainee Enterprising struggled a bit and finished off the board, meaning big payouts all around.
Mystic Sky ($42.60) capped off a mandatory Rainbow Pick-6 payout pool of $4.5 million. Players who had the winning tickets had to wait patiently for their payoff prices ($26,761.18) when jockey Ramsey Zimmerman lodged an objection against the second-place finishing jockey of My Point Exactly, Jose Batista.
After examining the objection, stewards determined My Point Exactly did not interfere with Zimmerman’s horse, Favorite Heir but instead did impede Galleon Mast, trained by FHBPA board member David Fawkes, placing Galleon Mast in the show position while Enterprising’s stablemate Two Step Time, moved into the place position.
“Racing is a really tough business, especially to cover all the expenses. So I really feel the stakes series is terrific and very helpful for us to keep plugging, especially while we have a good horse,” said owner Peter Vegso.
“His win was reminiscent of a horse we had called Go Between, he used to come from behind all the time , and give us heart-attack type action. I’m really pleased with this horse, he keeps improving and improving. Phil Gleaves has done a great job in moving him forward. We’re looking for better days ahead with him,” he said.
In the winner’s circle trainer, Phil Gleaves exclaimed, “One big win for the boss,” as Vegso was away attending a wedding in Canada.
The Florida-bred stakes series is excellent! We need a place to run these horses, especially in a stakes race. And, we get black-type, restricted for Florida-breds, but nonetheless black type,” he added.
“We made a big turnaround with him (Mystic Sky) he had a breathing problem, and last year we did a throat operation on him up in Ocala, a tie-back operation which is normal for horses with breathing problems. Since then, he’s been a monster,” he said “Luca gave him a great ride. He rode him like a European horse just covered him up all the way, didn’t let him see any daylight, then he came flying home.”
Once again two of the top three finishers were purchased at the OBS sale, except for Mystic Sky who was not purchased at auction. This makes the total an impressive 10 of 12 top three finishers in the first four FHBPA Sire Stakes series, OBS sale horses.
What better way to top all the action and drama off than with the presence of the legendary Florida trainer David Vivian who also trained Soldier’s Dancer?
The warm reaction of the crowd and horsemen when Mr. Vivian handed out the trophy was a nice tribute to how much he has given to the sport of thoroughbred racing.