08/06/2016 2:46PM

Dream of Me, R Kinsley Doll score upsets in Florida Sire stakes for 3-year-olds

Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photos
Dream of Me, ridden by Juan Leyva, wins the Unbridled Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – There was a pair of upsets in the two Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, where Dream of Me outfought the heavily favored Awesome Banner in the $150,000 Unbridled Stakes and R Kinsley Doll prevailed in the $150,000 Three Ring Stakes, with odds-on favorite Ballet Diva checking in sixth in the field of seven.

Both beaten favorites are stakes-winning homebreds for Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm and are trained by Mark Casse after beginning their careers with Stanley Gold.

The races were for horses sired by nominated stallions standing in Florida.

In the Unbridled Stakes, Dream of Me and Awesome Banner were the quickest out of the gate and battled head-and-head until the eighth pole, where Dream of Me ($24) began to pull away to score by 2 1/2 lengths under jockey Juan Leyva. The dueling leaders cut out fractions of 22.17 seconds and 44.59, with Dream of Me a head in front most of the way before drawing off and finishing the six-furlong test on a fast track in 1:10.30.

Awesome Banner, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, was favored at 1-20 after winning the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at six furlongs on Jan. 2, taking the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at seven furlongs Jan. 30, and finishing a close second in the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes at seven furlongs July 2. All of those races were here.  

“The idea was to put pressure on him and make him fold, and we did,” Leyva said. “I had him the whole way. He was riding him from the start.”

“This is the perfect distance for him,” said Enrique Corredor, the assistant and husband of winning trainer Anna Varsi. “I thought we were going to win. I had faith in that horse.”

Awesome Banner, a colt by Awesome of Course, finished second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Call to Honor, who was followed by Danbury and Li’l Meatball.

Dream of Me, a High Cotton colt owned by Kathy Machesky, has won three of his seven career starts for $275,350. He won the Dr. Fager division of the Florida Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds here last August and had finished a distant fourth in the Carry Back two starts back while returning from a 10-month layoff.

In the Three Ring, R Kinsley Doll ($13.40) got the first stakes victory of her career and ended a six-race losing streak, surging to a 1 1/4-length victory over Sweet Khaleesi.

Ridden by Gaffalione, R Kinsley Doll initially was part of a four-horse duel for the lead through a quarter-mile in a quick 22.06 seconds, with Shakakan holding an early half-length lead. R Kinsley Doll settled just off the leaders through a half-mile in 45.06 before coming five wide around the turn and powering away from Sweet Khaleesi down the lane, stopping the clock for six furlongs in 1:10.15.

“The race set up beautiful for us,” Gaffalione said. “We intended to be close to the pace, but when we broke, there were four horses that lined up across the track going for the lead, so I just got her relaxed right behind them, and she sat really nicely behind them, and when I asked her for run, she really kicked on.”

R Kinsley Doll, a daughter of Big Drama trained by Ralph Ziadie for Averill Racing and Silver Oak Stable, has won two of eight career starts for $148,045. She entered the Three Ring off a runner-up finish in a $30,000 claiming race on June 30, when she lost by a neck to Heartbreaker Girl as the odds-on favorite. She had gone winless since taking her career debut here in a maiden special weight race last October.  

Ballet Diva, a Hear No Evil filly, had led after a half-mile in seven of her previous 12 starts but never was able to get the lead Saturday and failed to threaten in the lane.  She has lost three straight races since getting her fourth stakes win in the Any Limit Stakes here in March.