12/02/2012 9:23PM

Gulfstream Park: Bahamian Squall doesn't have to settle for second in Sunshine State

Adam Coglianese
Bahamian Squall, under Luis Saez, collects his first stakes victory in the Sunshine State.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Bahamian Squall just keeps on getting better. On Sunday at Gulfstream Park, the steadily improving 3-year-old ended a series of second -place finishes and did so in a big way, slipping through along the rail to a convincing 3 ½-length victory over Fort Loudon in the $100,000 Sunshine State Stakes.

Bahamian Squall’s victory not only reversed his second-place finish behind  Fort Loudon late last spring in Calder’s Unbridled Stakes, it also came at the expense of his former stablemate Little Drama, who finished fifth as the even-money favorite in the seven-furlong Sunshine State.

Racing in blinkers for just the second time, Bahamian Squall ($17.40) stalked the early pace set by Little Drama and pressed by Fort Loudon. Jockey Luis Saez found ample room along the rail to slip Bahamian Squall inside Little Drama to gain command approaching the stretch, the pair gradually edging well clear after completing the distance in a sharp 1:21.12.

Fort Loudon proved no match for the winner but outlasted the fast-charging Close It Out to finish second. Close It Out had defeated Bahamian Squall by a neck three weeks earlier in Calder’s Jack Dudley Sprint Handicap.

“He worked so good at Calder last week, he came into this race really, really good,” said Fawkes, who trains Bahamian Squall for owner-breeder Donald Dizney. “When he ran second last time to Close It Out I think he made the lead too early and got a little lost. Saez kept him busy today. He did a very good job.”

Fawkes said there is little doubt Bahamian Squall continues to progress with every start.

“I was looking at the sheets earlier today and he’s made a nice progression,” said Fawkes. “He also loves this track.”

Fawkes said he would like to keep Bahamian Squall with Florida-breds for the time being and mentioned the Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint as a likely goal here next month.