08/09/2011 10:52AM

Calder: Gold picks up where he left off in Florida Stallion Series

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Jim Lisa
Redbud Road (left) won the Desert Vixen for trainer Stanley Gold and owner Fred Brei.

MIAMI – Trainer Stanley Gold admits to being a pessimist at heart when it comes to running his horses, but one would think that particular instinct would not apply when it comes to Calder’s Florida Stallion Stakes.

After sweeping the open division with Jackson Bend in 2009 and all three legs of the filly series a year ago with future Eclipse Award winner Awesome Feather, Gold was at it again this past weekend, opening the 2011 FSS by sending out Redbud Road to capture the $75,000 Desert Vixen and Fort Loudon to lead a one-two finish along with stablemate Argentine Tango in the $75,000 Dr. Fager.

As was the case the past two seasons, Redbud Road, Fort Loudon and Argentine Tango are all owned and were bred by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm.

“I’m always a pessimist when I run my horses because you never know what can happen, although I was confident in the abilities of all the horses I sent out on Saturday,” said Gold. “The wet track also concerned me because it kind of changes the scenario since some will prefer it and some won’t. I knew three of mine would handle it, but I was worried about Awesome Belle because she didn’t seem like she preferred it in the morning and coming down the stretch the other day it just didn’t look like her normal stride.”

Awesome Belle finished fifth behind Redbud Road in the Desert Vixen.

Redbud Road was winning for the third time in four starts, each of those victories coming since Gold added blinkers following her second-place finish in her career debut on May 1.

“I put the blinkers on her because she was waiting on horses when she got to the lead and she’s still waiting on horses,” said Gold. “Maybe they make her a little more focused, but it seems she wants to make it a nail-biter to the end with or without them. You’ve just got to keep riding her, but she’s learning.”

Fort Loudon also put blinkers on for the first time two starts prior to the Dr. Fager, and he has improved ever since, winning his maiden by 10 lengths when stretching to six furlongs for the first time on July 16. He won Saturday’s six-furlong race despite trouble in the stretch.

“I don’t think any of the changes we made with Fort Loudon, blinkers or Lasix, made that big of a difference,” said Gold. “He’s just got it figured out now. He was lucky to overcome the trouble he got in when banged and knocked off stride through the stretch the other day, and luckily the race was at six furlongs or he might not have had time to recover.”

Argentine Tango finished best of all down the center of the course after getting knocked around a bit leaving the gate for the Dr. Fager.

“I think the further the better for him,” said Gold. “I just wish he’d get out of the gate a little better. That might help him avoid the banging that happened the other day.”

Gold said he is undecided which of his four Stallion Stakes starters from the weekend will return in the second leg of the series on Aug. 27, the Affirmed and the Susan’s Girl. Two open one-mile stakes for 2-year-olds – the Seacliff and the Lindsay Frolic – are scheduled for the same day.

“I haven’t talked to Fred about the next one, but I’d have to say the most likely scenario is that Redbud Road and Fort Loudon would run in the Stallion Stakes,” said Gold. “I’m not sure about the other two. We could team them up again in the Stallion races or run them in the mile races on the same card. We have plenty of time to see how they come out of this one before making a decision.”

Gold said he’s not sure what to attribute all the success he and Brei have had in the Stallion races over the past several years.

“I’d rather have good luck than good horses,” said Gold. “Fortunately we’ve been lucky and have had the horses good enough to take advantage of it. I really don’t think about it much; I’m just happy it’s happening.”

Gold was also happy to see his former pupil Jackson Bend win the James Marvin Stakes so impressively opening day at Saratoga. Jackson Bend began his career with Gold and returned to his barn this winter after spending the majority of his 3-year-old campaign with trainer Nick Zito. Gold then turned Jackson Bend back over to Zito for a second time earlier this summer.

“Turning him back to a sprint again was a good move by Nick, it’s given him a resurgence,” said Gold. “I did what needed to be done here and Nick went on with it and I’m just happy everything went well and he’s found a rebirth.”

Jackson Bend was bred by Brei, who sold a majority interest to Bob LaPenta shortly after he won the In Reality Stakes here last fall to complete a sweep of the 2010 Stallion Stakes.