09/05/2015 7:44PM

Tribal Drama hangs on to win Affirmed

Leslie Martin
Tribal Drama wins the Affirmed Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Tribal Drama just held off a late charge from Abercorn in the $300,000 Affirmed Stakes to deny trainer Stanley Gold and owner-breeder Jacks or Better Farm a sweep of the two rich Florida Sire Stakes on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Earlier on the card, Gold and Jacks or Better, whose principals are Fred and Jane Brei, ran one-two in the Susan’s Girl, the sister race to the Affirmed, with homebreds Ballet Diva and Silent Prayer.

Tribal Drama, making his second career start after a sharp debut win Aug. 2, was prominent throughout the race under Eddie Castro, who rode four winners Saturday. He shrugged off his pace rivals after splits of 22.74 seconds and 45.94, went briefly clear in midstretch, and had just enough left to hold clear an inside challenge from Abercorn. Abercorn, doing his best work late, just missed getting up but out-finished Li’l Meatball for second.

The 2-year-old Tribal Drama ran seven furlongs over a track turned sloppy by an early-card storm in 1:25.61, running his career mark to 2 for 2. David Fawkes trains the winner for owner Hallmarc Racing LLC and also trained Tribal Drama’s first-crop sire, the crack sprinter Big Drama.

Meanwhile, Ballet Diva returned to her winning ways in the Susan’s Girl division of the Florida sire stakes, rebounding from a disappointing third-place finish as the 1-5 favorite Aug. 8 in the Desert Vixen Stakes. Ballet Diva, a petite filly with excellent early speed, had easily won her first two races and started for the first time Saturday with the anti-bleeding medication Lasix. Breaking third, she moved up the inside to take the lead in the first furlong, setting splits of 22.63 and 45.57 under jockey Jose Caraballo. None of the other pace players could latch onto Ballet Diva, and nothing came running from off the pace either, leaving Ballet Diva to skip home one length in front of stablemate Silent Prayer, who had delayed the start several minutes with balky behavior at the gate.

Ballet Diva, by Hear No Evil out of Dame Sylvieguilhem (by Nureyev), paid $5.40 to win as the second choice and ran seven furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:26.12. High Time was 2 3/4 lengths behind Silent Prayer in third, while Big Chill, the 3-2 favorite for trainer Linda Rice off a Saratoga debut win, was no factor in the end. Prominent early, Big Thrill never picked up her pace and checked in a well-beaten eighth.

It was one of two one-two stakes finishes on the card for Gold and Jacks or Better. Those same connections swept the top two spots in an off-the-turf edition of the Florida Sire Prized Stakes with Twotwentyfive A and Southern Barbecue.