By Jim Freer
Sweet Khaleesi was the star at Gulfstream Park this past weekend, when other big stories were the rain at Gulfstream and South Florida favorite Gunnevera’s second place finish in the Travers (Grade 1) at Saratoga.
Sweet Khaleesi turned the tables on Money or Love on Saturday, beating her by a neck in the $50,000 Sugarloaf Key Handicap at Gulfstream.
On July 29 at Gulfstream, Money or Love defeated a late-running Sweet Khaleesi by a neck in the $50,000 Added Elegance Handicap. That race was seven furlongs on the dirt track listed as Fast.
In the Sugarloaf Key, Arindel homebred Sweet Khaleesi took the lead after a half mile and held off a late run by Money or Love whose owner-trainer is Joseph Russo. It was six furlongs on the dirt track that was Sloppy and sealed following three days of heavy rain.
NOTE: Because of the rain, Gulfstream did not have any racing on turf during the four days from Thursday through Sunday.
The Added Elegance and Sugarloaf Key were both for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The Added Elegance was restricted to non-winners of an open stakes. For example, a race restricted to Florida-breds or to horses bred in any particular state is not an open stakes. The Sugarloaf Key had no such restrictions.
Sweet Tooth Haven finished third in the Sugarloaf Key, 4 ½ lengths behind Money or Love in the six-horse field. More Than a Party and Last Kiss were scratched on Saturday morning.
Emisael Jaramillo rode Sweet Khaleesi, who won in 1:10.34. Sweet Khaleesi and Money or Love both received Equibase career-best Speed Figures of 100.
Sweet Khaleesi was the 6-5 favorite and Money or Love was sent off at 9-2.
Jaramillo picked up the ride from Edgard Zayas, who was on board Sweet Khaleesi in her three previous races.
Zayas was at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, and rode 24-1 shot Gunnevera to a second-place finish in the Travers Stakes (Grade 1) at 1 ¼ miles for 3-year-olds.
Gunnevera finished 3 ½ lengths behind gate-to-wire winner West Coast—ridden by Mike Smith and trained by Bob Baffert.
Gunnevera is stabled at Gulfstream Park West (Calder) and is trained by year-round South Florida horseman Antonio Sano.
Gunnevera is owned by the recently formed Margoth, whose principal is Salomon Del Valle. He was one of three owners of Peacock Racing, which previously raced Gunnevera. He bought the other two owners out in late July.
Sano on Sunday told reporters that he tentatively plans to train Gunnevera up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade 1) to be run Nov. 4 at Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif.
Regular jockey Jairo Hernandez was on board Money or Love in the Added Elegance and in the Sugarloaf Key.
“Sweet” vs. “Money”
The 4-year-old Sweet Khaleesi and the 5-year-old Money or Love usually race from mid pack or farther back during early stages of their races.
In the Added Elegance, Money or Love was in sixth place and Sweet Khaleesi was seventh after a half mile.
Money or Love then made first run and held off Sweet Khaleesi to win in 1:23.57.
Trainer Stan Gold decided to change the strategy for Sweet Khaleesi in the Sugarloaf Key.
The sloppy track was favoring speed—as often the case under those conditions. Of the day’s ten races of one mile or shorter, seven were won by horses that were leading or were in second place at the second call.
Recognizing that, Gold instructed Jaramillo to not get too far back in the pack.
“I was a little concerned about the six furlongs, because I don’t think she wants to be rushed to the front, but on this kind of track you don’t want to sit off of it,” Gold said. “She’d preferred to stalk and press the issue and come on, but it worked out.”
Arty’sbourbongirl led the Sugarloaf Key through the first half mile, setting fractions of :22.25 and :45.55. She faded and finished last.
The win was the fourth for Sweet Khaleesi in fifteen career starts. It was her first stakes victory. She has two wins and two second place finishes in four races for Gold.
Sweet Khaleesi is a daughter of Maimonides and is out of the Yes It’s True mare Calorie.
She is a Florida-bred homebred of Arindel, which is owned by the family of Alan Cohen the former majority owner of the Florida Panthers.
Early this year Arindel placed all of its horses with Gold, who also trains for several other clients.
Through Sunday, Arindel leads the owner’s standings with ten wins at the Gulfstream summer meet that will end Sept. 30. Arindel also has seven second place finishes and seven third place finishes in 44 starts.
Midwest Thoroughbreds and Frank Carl Calabrese are tied for second, each with eight wins.
Gold has twelve wins and is tied for fourth place with Ralph Ziadie and Victor Barboza Jr.
Ralph Nicks leads trainers in the summer meet with 17 wins. He is followed by Sano with 15 and David Fawkes with 14.
The Arindel-Gold list of winners for the summer meet includes Richard the Great. On Aug.12, that 5-year-old gelding ran a very fast time of 1:21.06 in winning the seven-furlong Trinniberg Stakes at Gulfstream.
Money or Love has won six of 22 career starts, including two stakes victories.
In addition to the Added Elegance she won the $100,000 Musical Romance, at 38-1, at Gulfstream on May 27.
That seven-furlong dirt race was for Florida breds 3-years-old and up.
It was part of this year’s new ten-race series of $100,000 stakes for older horses—sponsored and funded by the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Associations and by Gulfstream.
Six of the stakes are for Florida breds.
The other four are Florida Enhanced. They are open to horses bred in any states.
But only Florida-breds are eligible for bonuses of up to $25,000 that the FHBPA is paying in the Florida enhanced stakes. Those bonuses are $17,500 to a winner, $5,000 for second place and $2,500 for third place.
Money or Love is a daughter of J Be K and is out of the Great Expectations Mare Meets Expectations.
She was bred in Florida by Darshan Inc. Russo bought her for $8,200 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s June 2014 sale.
The Gulfstream Condition Book shows no dirt sprint stakes scheduled for older fillies and mares through the end of the summer meet. But there is the prospect that Gulfstream will schedule such a race for early in the Gulfstream Park West meet at Calder, which begins Oct. 4.
Sugarloaf Key Handicap – Gulfstream Park 8-26-17
5 -SWEET KHALEESI 4.60 2.80 2.10
4 -MONEY OR LOVE 4.80 2.80
1 -SWEET TOOTH HAVEN 2.60
$2 EXACTA 5-4 PAID $18.20; $1 TRIFECTA 5-4-1 PAID
$29.50; 10 CENT SUPERFECTA 5-4-1-3 PAID $4.26