08/06/2015 11:16AM

Gold’s juveniles look tough in Dr. Fager, Desert Vixen

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Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photo
Brighton Lane will be among the favorites in the $200,000 Dr. Fager on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Jacks or Better Farm has made the occasional splash on a grander scale with such outright stars as Awesome Feather and Jackson Bend, but homebreds out-footing their fellow Florida-breds is what really has carried Fred Brei’s Ocala-based operation in its nearly two decades of existence.

“These are the days we point for,” said trainer Stanley Gold, who will send out eight Jacks or Better homebreds under Brei’s purple and gold silks when the first set of races in the 2015 Florida Sire Stakes are held Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Ballet Diva, an easy winner of her first two starts, is the most exciting Jacks or Better prospect. She and stablemate Silent Prayer will run in the $200,000 Desert Vixen, one of seven stakes to be run on a day Gulfstream officials have been actively marketing in the local region as a festive “Summer Soiree.”

The Desert Vixen and its male counterpart, the $200,000 Dr. Fager, are the richest races on a 12-race Saturday program that starts a half-hour earlier than normal at 12:45 p.m. Eastern. The Dr. Fager caps all the stakes action as the 11th race (post 6:04).

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The Desert Vixen (race 5, post 2:45), which matches a field of eight 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs, figures to have the strongest favorite of the entire day in Ballet Diva, whose run-off scores in her May 28 career debut and the July 5 Cassidy Stakes have drawn favorable comparisons from Gold to Awesome Feather, a Breeders’ Cup winner and champion in 2010.

“She might just be faster at this point,” Gold said.

The Dr. Fager, also set for six furlongs, is more well-balanced. A field of nine 2-year-old colts and geldings should have either of the Jacks or Better duo of Brighton Lane and Fellowship contending for favoritism with Danbury and Dream of Me.

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Five of the seven Saturday stakes are restricted to horses eligible to the Florida Sire Stakes series, which was known as the Florida Stallion Stakes when first run at Calder in 1982. The name change came about last year when the series was shifted to Gulfstream.

The Saturday forecast calls for steamy conditions, with a high temperature of 93 and oppressive humidity.

Dr. Fager S. (race 11)

KEY CONTENDERS

Brighton Lane (Last Beyer: 47)

◗ He will have to overcome the inside post as he did in his May 29 debut triumph as there’s plenty of speed to his outside; lengthy set of workouts suggest he brings a valuable education to the table.

Danbury (Last Beyer: 55)

◗ Son of the promising sire Kantharos won at first asking among a bulky field when up late for jockey Juan Leyva and trainer Bill Kaplan; drew strong backing for that one and will here, too.

Desert Vixen S. (race 5)

KEY CONTENDERS

Ballet Diva (Last 2 Beyers: 76-71)

◗ Those superior speed figures suggest she could be something like 1-5 as four of her seven opponents are still maidens; a couple of quick rivals, however, means Eddie Castro will have to work out the right kind of trip.

Silent Prayer (Last 2 Beyers: 44-n/a)

◗ Fared respectably when flaunting her speed against male rivals in her last start and now is back with her own gender; figures to hold for part, at least.