09/28/2016 2:10PM

Cajun Delta Dawn stuck with post 13 for My Dear Girl

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Lauren King/Coglianese Photos
Cajun Delta Dawn will have to work out a good trip from the far outside in the 1 1/16-mile My Dear Girl.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Despite the imposing presence of the undefeated pair of Three Rules in the In Reality and Cajun Delta Dawn in the My Dear Girl, the starting gate will be surprisingly full for the final legs of this year’s Florida Sire Series for 2-year-olds at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

With 13 fillies entered in the My Dear Girl, the post-position draw suddenly became crucial, considering the short run to the first turn in races at 1 1/16 miles here over the main track. And as luck would have it, Cajun Delta Dawn found herself compromised after drawing the extreme outside to begin her quest to sweep the fillies’ division.

“It’s not good for me, but what can I do?” said David Fawkes, who trains Cajun Delta Dawn as well as Surprise Wedding, who will also compete in the My Dear Girl. “Hopefully, we can drop over and save as much ground as we can into the first turn.”

Three Rules was more fortunate at the draw, being assigned post 2 among the dozen juvenile colts and geldings entered for the In Reality.

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell, who has a rich history of success in the Sire Series dating back to Blazing Sword, who won the opening two legs of the then-Florida Stallion Stakes in 1996, entered horses in both divisions. O’Connell, who swept the fillies’ division three years ago with the Gil Campbell homebred Scandalous Act, will send out longshots Love My Cotton and Western Journey against Three Rules in the In Reality. She’ll have Stormy Embrace, the runner-up in the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl, looking to turn the tables on Cajun Delta Dawn in the My Dear Girl.

“Other than the two standout horses in both divisions, they are pretty wide-open races,” said O’Connell. “The biggest problem I have is that there has been no dirt race for 2-year-olds around two turns leading up to these events, so it’s hard to get one seasoned to go a mile and one-sixteenth.

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“Frankly, I’m surprised there are 12 in the In Reality, but I’m probably thinking the same as everyone else regarding the large purse and the uncertainty about who might get the distance,” she added. “Obviously, we’re kind of taking a shot, but at least it gives us an opportunity to see if these horses want to go two turns down the road.”

O’Connell said the Sire Series has been special to her through the years, first at Calder and then rejuvenated and enriched after being switched to Gulfstream Park in 2014.

“Obviously, sweeping the series with Scandalous Act was tremendous,” said O’Connell. “And if Ivanavinalot hadn’t hit the starting gate so badly in the first leg, she might have swept it too. Blazing Sword is a very, very special horse to me, considering he was my first $1 million earner. This has always been such a wonderful series for these Florida-breds, really showcasing our horses down here while proving time and again that they can go anywhere and compete.”