07/02/2011 5:23PM

Calder: Redbud Road defeats stablemate in J J'sdream

Jim Lisa Photos
Mel Beach and Orlando Bocachica win the $100,000 Frank Gomez at Calder.

MIAMI - Trainer Stanley Gold and owner-breeder Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm did themselves one better on Saturday than a year ago, when they sent out stablemates Redbud Road and Awesome Belle to finish first and second in Calder’s $100,000 J J'sdream Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Last year Gold and Jacks or Better combined to win the J J'sdream with Awesome Feather, who went on to greater glory by capturing both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and an Eclipse Award as the champion 2-year-old filly for 2010.

Redbud Road rallied four wide into the stretch, then outgamed her uncoupled mate to register a half-length victory. The win was the second in a row for the homebred daughter of Awesome of Course, who also sired both Awesome Belle and Awesome Feather.

Awesome Belle broke slowly then rushed to contention outside rivals and actually held a short lead in early stretch before being overtaken by her mate. To her credit, she fought on bravely from the deeper going near the rail. Awesome Belle finished three lengths in front of the 1-2 favorite Frolic’s Revenge, who weakened to third after forcing the pace to midstretch.

Redbud Road completed 5 1/2 furlongs over a track upgraded from good to fast in 1:07.16 under jockey Luis Saez, and paid $9.80. The Gold-Jacks or Better exacta paid $77.60 for $2.

“I love it,” said Gold. “The only thing better would have been a dead heat. If Awesome Belle had broken a little cleaner it might have gone the other way.”

Gold said both fillies would make their next start in the $75,000 Desert Vixen, opening leg of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes, on Aug. 6.

Gold and Jacks or Better couldn’t quite pull off the stakes double Saturday in the $100,000 Frank Gomez Memorial when Argentine Tango’s rally fell 1 3/4 lengths short of catching Mel Beach in the race for 2-year-olds. Mel Beach also had to withstand a claim of foul and stewards' inquiry before being awarded the victory.

Mel Beach forced the pace from the outside under jockey Orlando Bocachica, forged to a short advantage on the turn, lugged in momentarily to brush with the 2-5 Hello Prince, and edged clear at the end. Argentine Tango, who broke a step slowly, rallied belatedly to finish second, a head in front of the tiring favorite.

Mel Beach, a son of Pomeroy owned by J Robert Harris III, covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:07.01 and returned $22.20.

“This win meant so much to me with the race named for Frank Gomez,” said winning trainer Eddie Plesa by phone from Monmouth Park. “After my father there is no one I looked up to more on the racetrac, and Frank trained a number of nice horses for Mr. Harris’s father, too.”

Plesa said Mel Beach would return in the $75,000 Dr. Fager Division of the Florida Stalion Stakes on Aug. 6.

Trip for A.J. ($4.40) rallied to a one-length victory over pacesetter Diosa Indian in the $55,000 Liberada Stakes, a race that was switched from the turf to the main track, while Imperial Czar ($20.80) upset the $55,000 American Dreamer overnight stakes for 3-year-olds earlier on the card.