10/01/2015 2:15PM

Stablemates Twotwentyfive A, Southern Barbecue get rematch in Foolish Pleasure

Email
Kenny Martin/Coglianese Photos
Twotwentyfive A (right), winner of the Affirmed Stakes, will start Saturday in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Stanley Gold generally does excellent work in Florida-bred stakes, and on Saturday, he doesn’t even have to strike with laser precision in the $150,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Gulfstream as he has three of the race’s 10 entrants.

A 1 1/16-mile dirt route restricted to nominated Florida-sired 3-year-old males, the Foolish Pleasure includes Twotwentyfive A and Southern Barbecue, the one-two finishers from the $150,000 Prized Stakes for Florida-sired runners Sept. 5. Gold trains those two along with Sing Praises, who won a rich Florida-sired stakes last year at 2 in his only previous two-turn dirt start.

Gold finding success in a Florida-sired stakes race is hardly news but still is a profitable betting angle. According to DRF Formulator, over the last five years in dirt-route stakes restricted to statebreds, Gold has a 6-3-2 record from 20 starters and a $3.26 ROI.

:: Gulfstream Park: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

The Prized was scheduled for turf but rained onto sloppy dirt, which worked just fine for Gold’s pair. Twotwentyfive A, making his first start in 10 weeks, middle-moved into a strong pace, took the lead in upper stretch, was collared in midstretch by the favored Wicked Rascal, but turned him away and held off Southern Barbecue by a neck.

Twotwentyfive A was 13-1 in the Prized, but he’s unexposed in dirt routes and has a decent chance to repeat. The Prized was his first dirt start since Gold refitted him with blinkers, and Twotwentyfive A should not be troubled by the extra turn and added half-furlong Saturday.

Southern Barbecue had an easier trip than Twotwentyfive A in the Prized, and while he’s his stablemate’s equal in talent, he also hints at being a superior one-turn horse. Sing Praises drew the outside post but has the speed to gain early position, though he could wind up part of a fast pace. His two-turn success a year ago might have been the product of an advanced 2-year-old winning on talent more than a horse truly looking for a route of ground.

The rail-drawn Focus on Me has the race’s highest Beyer Speed Figures, but those were earned in one-turn races, and he also could be part of a demanding pace. Trainer David Braddy’s $2.74 ROI with sprint-to-route runners over the last five years is inflated by a 27-1 shot who came home under such circumstances.

Western Conqueror ships from Delaware for trainer Mike Gorham and makes just his fourth start, his second around two turns, and his first against statebred-restricted opposition.

Meadow Star ripe for upset

The Foolish Pleasure’s sister race, the $150,000 Meadow Star, should hold less appeal from a wagering standpoint, with only a sextet of 3-year-old fillies entered, but the horses who will take betting, starting with the Gold-trained Dogwood Trail, lack two-turn experience, and perhaps that could brew an upset.

Dogwood Trail also might have gone over the top after winning the Grade 3 Azalea in July and the restricted Three Ring Stakes in August: She ran flat as the odds-on favorite last month in the $75,000 Uanme Stakes, fading to fourth of seven.

Second and third choices Savingtime and Mom’z Laugh have made 24 combined starts, all in sprints, and clearly are in this spot for the purse, not the distance. Holywell, 15-1 on the morning line, has turned in a series of dull performances, though none around two turns on dirt, and she has won one of two such races in her career.

Moment of Delight was awful in her most recent start on turf but prefers dirt, and at 10-1 on the morning line, she also has a chance to outstay the shorter prices.

◗ Andrea’s Reward ran one-paced going seven furlongs at European-style Kentucky Downs, finishing fifth of 12 on Sept. 5, but she looked far livelier in winning her career debut in a two-turn turf race at Gulfstream in August and is the one to beat in the $75,000 Our Dear Peggy for 2-year-old fillies.

Cape Lady, a Kentucky Downs maiden winner, also rates a chance, while Harlin’s Darlin figures twice her 3-1 morning-line odds if the race stays on turf.

◗ J R’s Holiday had a rough trip in his turf debut two starts ago and just missed winning, but with a clean run on grass last time, he crushed maiden foes at Gulfstream, and a repeat of that performance would give him a strong chance to win the $75,000 Allied Forces for 2-year-olds.

The 12-horse field is filled with lightly raced horses capable of improvement, including the New York shipper Ian Smith for trainer Todd Pletcher.