10/13/2011 3:29PM

Calder: Fort Loudon tries to give Gold, Brei a third straight Florida Stallion Stakes sweep

Email
Jim Lisa
Fort Loudon will seek a Florida Stallion Stakes sweep in the In Reality.

MIAMI – Trainer Stanley Gold has swept a division of the Florida Stallion Stakes each of the last two years with Jackson Bend and Awesome Feather. On Saturday, Gold will attempt to complete a sweep for an unprecedented third consecutive season when he sends out Fort Loudon in Calder’s $300,000 In Reality.

The 1 1/16-mile In Reality will highlight Saturday’s Festival of the Sun program along with its filly counterpart, the $300,000 My Dear Girl. The 13-race card includes three stakes for older horses and also is expected to feature a public workout by defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and Eclipse Award winner Big Drama between the third and fourth events.

Gold’s hand in Saturday’s two FSS finales is not limited strictly to Fort Loudon. He’ll also be represented by Argentine Tango in the In Reality along with likely favorite Redbud Road and her stablemate Awesome Belle in the My Dear Girl. All four 2-year-olds are owned and bred by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm.

“I never would have expected to have had this type of good fortune,” Gold said. “And imagine if Redbud Road had not lost by that nose in the Susan’s Girl or we’d be going for two sweeps, which would be beyond imagination.”

Fort Loudon needed four starts to finally win his maiden, but is undefeated since. He was clearly best in the opening legs of the Stallion Stakes, winning the six-furlong Dr. Fager by 1 1/4 lengths, despite being carried extremely wide into the stretch, and the seven-furlong Affirmed by two lengths after being bumped and briefly knocked off stride at the top of the lane.

Gold paid Fort Loudon the ultimate compliment when asked to compare him to Jackson Bend, who was undefeated at 2 and is currently among the favorites for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“He does all the things Jackson Bend did as a 2-year-old except with more in reserve,” Gold said. “He has a better body, a bigger body then Jackson, he’s still growing, still young, and doesn’t really know what he’s doing yet. This has all been nothing for him so far. I don’t think we’ve seen how much potential he’s got.”

Fort Loudon, who has not raced since the Affirmed or been beyond seven furlongs, turned in a sensational one-mile workout for the In Reality going the distance in 1:42.60 on Sept. 18.

“We haven’t asked him for 100 percent in his breezes,” Gold said. “ He’s got the outside post, so he should be able to stay out of trouble. Hopefully, he won’t disappoint me, and we’ll see what he can do when we turn him loose on Saturday.”

Argentine Tango has finished strong but been second best in each of his three stakes starts, including runner-up finishes behind Fort Loudon in the Dr.Fager and Affirmed.

“He’s a hard horse to gauge,” Gold said of Argentine Tango. “He acts like he doesn’t care in the morning but comes running in his races. On paper, you would think two turns is it for him, but sometimes when you think that’s the case you end up with an off-the-pace sprinter.”

Fort Loudon and Argentine Tango should receive their stiffest challenges from Burning Time, easy winner of the mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure on Sept. 17, and Sarava’s Dancer who figures to control the pace of the In Reality.

Burning Time has shown steady improvement since being stretched around two turns by trainer David Fawkes.

“He’s doing well, but he’s not going to be forwardly placed and we’ll need some pace in this race,” Fawkes said.

Fawkes also is hoping he can get the best of Gold’s duo in the My Dear Girl with Queen Drama, Big Drama’s baby sister, who outgamed Redbud Road by a nose to win the Susan’s Girl six weeks earlier.

“I think she’ll get a little better going further and move forward off that last race,” Fawkes said of Queen Drama. “She’s a lot like Big Drama mentally. She’s very smart and very level headed when she trains and also very competitive just like he is.”

Like Queen Drama, Redbud Road has not finished worse than second at 2. She was a popular winner of the Desert Vixen before suffering a heartbreaking setback in the Susan’s Girl. Awesome Belle finished fifth in the Desert Vixen and third in the Susan’s Girl after encountering trouble in both races. She’ll run in blinkers for the first time on Saturday.

“I think she just needs something to keep her mind on running and to help keep her out of trouble,” Gold said when asked about the equipment change for Awesome Belle.

Sinister Brew also looms a major player in the My Dear Girl, having already been two turns twice, finishing second in the one-mile Lindsay Frolic and third in the mile and 70-yard Brave Raj.