07/26/2012 12:53PM

Calder: Plesa and O'Connell have top contenders in Florida Stallion Stakes

Email
Coady Photography
Two T's at Two B, trained by Kathleen O'Connell, wins the Frank Gomez Memorial by five lengths.

MIAMI – Eddie Plesa Jr. and Kathleen O’Connell have dominated the 2-year-old racing at Calder this summer, so it’s appropriate that they will send out the two top contenders, Dixie High and Two T’s At Two B, in Saturday’s $75,000 Dr. Fager Stakes. The six-furlong Dr. Fager and its filly counterpart, the $75,000 Desert Vixen, once again kick off the Florida Stallion Stakes, a three-race series for Florida-bred 2-year-olds offering total purses estimated at $1 million.

Surpringly, the Dr. Fager drew a field of only six juvenile colts, two of whom – first-time starter Wardroom and the late-running Joshua’s Comprise – are still maidens. The Desert Vixen didn’t fare much better, luring only seven 2-year-old fillies including three who have yet to win.

Plesa has won six races from just 17 starts for 2-year-olds at Calder since the meet began in early April. Dixie Strike was one of the more impressive of those winners, drawing off to a 3 3/4-length victory going five furlongs in his debut after being hard used dueling for the lead. Dixie High, a son of High Cotton, must prove he can stretch his speed an additional furlong in the face of similar pace pressure in the Dr. Fager.

Two of O’Connell’s eight juvenile victories this season have been recorded by Two T’s At Two B, a speedy son of Untuttable who has won his first two starts by an average margin of 6 1/4 lengths. The homebred owned by O’Connell’s chief client, Gil Campbell, is already a stakes winner, having dominated the Frank Gomez Memorial by more than five lengths going 5 1/2 furlongs on June 30 while winning with speed to spare.

“He’s a pretty unique and special individual,” said O’Connell. “He wasn’t all out or even 100 percent fit when he won the Gomez. I had sent him to the farm for a little vacation following his maiden win. He just seems to be getting better and better and blossoming with experience. We’re going six furlongs for the first time and he’s never really taken any dirt. That would be my biggest concern, but it’s going to have to happen sooner or later.”

Billos Boy, who finished a tiring third in the Gomez, and Cat Five Hurricane, who showed big improvement with the addition of blinkers to win his maiden at second asking, also figure to have a say in the early pace of the Dr. Fager.

A protracted speed duel could enhance the chances of Joshua’s Comprise, who’ll make the eighth start of his short career and second in six days on Saturday. Joshua’s Comprise rallied to finish a distant second behind Two T’s at Two B’s in the Gomez.

Putyourdreamsaway, who stormed through the stretch to a 5 1/4-length debut win going six furlongs on July 15, figures to be heavily favored to remain unbeaten in the Desert Vixen. The daughter of Put It Back, owned by Herb and Ione Elkins, is one of only four winners in the field, along with Capriccio Blue, Anita’s Comprise, and Candy Coded Kisses.

O’Connell will be represented in the Desert Vixen by Be My Love, who finished third behind winner Vitameta following an eventful start when making her only start, which came on July 1.

“I might scratch the filly and enter a maiden race next week, although this is such a small field it’s tempting to run,” said O’Connell. “She ducked coming out of gate in her first start and she’s green, green. But she’s got some talent and she worked with the big horse pretty good last week.”