09/04/2014 1:56PM

Sing Praises leads three from Jacks or Better Farm into Affirmed Stakes

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Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Sing Praises, the winner of the Dr. Fager Stakes, will try to win the second leg of the Florida Sire Series when he starts Saturday in the Affirmed Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Jacks or Better Farm has a royal flush as far as promising 2-year-olds go. Fred Brei’s powerhouse stable brings a strong hand to the table once again Saturday, as not only will Sing Praises be a solid favorite in the $250,000 Affirmed Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but a couple of other colts carrying the purple and gold will serve as capable backups.

The Affirmed and its sister race, the $250,000 Susan’s Girl, anchor a 12-race card as the middle legs of the rich Florida Sire Series. Formerly known as the Florida Stallion Stakes, this is the first time since the series was founded in 1981 that the races have been run at Gulfstream and not Calder.

Sing Praises, with Ramsey Zimmerman back to ride, will break from post 1 in a field of 11 2-year-old colts and geldings in the seven-furlong Affirmed. The colt was a maiden when romping at nearly 21-1 in the Birdonthewire Stakes in his second career start in July, then confirmed that form when capturing the first Sire Series race, the Dr. Fager on Aug. 9, by 1 3/4 lengths as the 1-2 favorite.

:: DRF Live: Get real-time updates and insights from DRF reporters and handicappers starting at 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday

“I don’t know how good he is, but he’s good,” said trainer Stanley Gold, who also will saddle Of Course (post 3) and Twotwentyfive A (post 9).

The Affirmed is named for the Florida-bred who still is the most recent Triple Crown winner (1978). The final legs in the series, the In Reality and My Dear Girl, are set for Oct. 4. Each is worth $350,000.

Aside from the 33rd runnings of the Affirmed and Susan’s Girl, Gulfstream is hosting College Day in an effort to attract local youths to the track Saturday. The special first post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern, with the Affirmed (race 10) set for 5:34 p.m.

A scratch or two is possible from the Affirmed, with Ralph Nicks, the trainer of Rockinatten, saying Thursday he “probably isn’t running” the maiden against winners after taking a long look at the lineup.

Key contenders

Sing Praises (Last 3 Beyers: 71-80-59)

* A clean break from the tricky rail post seems the most important factor in putting him on his way. Zimmerman, amid an inspiring comeback from personal problems, has been a standout at the meet that began July 1.

:: Florida Stallion Series: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

Of Course (Last 3 Beyers: 67-54-55)

* Another Gold-trained horse, he is one of the potential upsetters of his stablemate after finishing second to him in the Dr. Fager.

Jaiden’s Best (Last 3 Beyers: 58-58-62)

* Trainer Kathleen O’Connell is enjoying another terrific year with her 2-year-olds. Over the past six months, she has 11 wins from 32 starts in the category, for a return on investment of $2.60.

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