Updated on 09/16/2011 8:51AM

Wind whispers 'Stallion Series'


MIAMI - The opening legs of this year's Florida Stallion Series, the Dr. Fager and Desert Vixen Stakes, are still more than two weeks away, but already it looks like both races will offer full and talented fields. Both races carry $75,000 purses, are at six furlongs, and go on Aug. 10 at Calder.

A number of prospects turned in solid preps here last weekend. The most notable were Trust N Luck and Ivanavinalot, who both will enter their races with unblemished records.

Trust N Luck, who is owned by E. Paul Robsham and trained by Ralph Ziadie, posted his second straight impressive victory when rallying to an easy three-length victory over preliminary allowance competition in Saturday's last race. He will likely be the solid favorite in the Dr. Fager.

Ivanavinalot turned back to five furlongs for her second start, after posting a one-sided 11-length victory going 6 1/2 furlongs in her career debut. On Saturday, she had to overcome a rough trip before escaping with a 1 1/4-length win over entry-level allowance rivals.

Trainer Kathleen O'Connell had jockey M.R. Cruz take Ivanavinalot, a gate-to-wire winner in her debut, off the pace Saturday. She had to overcome numerous traffic problems before eventually running down the leader once clear in the final furlong. The education should stand her well, especially when she stretches back to six furlongs for the Desert Vixen.

Awaiting Ivanavinalot in the Desert Vixen will be Heavenly Miss, who overcame a rough trip to upset the J j'sdream Stakes on June 29, and Formal Miss and Running Debate, third and seventh in the J j'sDream. Paintball, a well-beaten sixth behind Ivanavinalot in her career debut, rebounded with a sensational 10 3/4-length maiden allowance victory on Saturday, a performance that should earn her a rematch in the Desert Vixen.

Among those hoping to upset Trust N Luck in the Dr. Fager will be a pair of colts who earned their diplomas on Saturday and a third who graduated the following afternoon.

Both Rufustheroadrunner and Lawbook ended weeks of frustration by finally winning their maiden wins. Rufustheroadrunner, beaten in each of his first two starts, added blinkers and survived an early pace duel to earn himself a possible spot in the Dr. Fager. Lawbook, who had the misfortune to catch Hear No Evil, Trust N Luck, and Kissin Bold when second best in each of his previous three starts, overcame trouble to finally win the ninth race Saturday. The Name's Bond drew off to a 6 3/4-length victory while covering six furlongs in 1:11.40 to earn his diploma under a $50,000 claiming tag on Sunday.

Kissin Bold, a good-looking son of Kissin Kris, has continued to train well since leaving the maiden ranks with an easy win over Lawbook earlier this month. He also figures to be among the key contenders for the Dr. Fager along with Criterium Stakes runner-up Supah Blitz.

Winners of yesteryear

Frank Gomez, who trains Dr. Fager hopeful The Name's Bond, is the Stallion Stakes' all-time winningest trainer with 12 victories including sweeps of the open division in 1984 and 1991 with Smile and Naked Greed.

Ziadie is the only other trainer to win all three legs of the Stallion Series with two different horses, which he did two years ago with Valid Forbes and Silk Concorde.

Odd doings in Aspidistra

Strange to see the 4-year-old filly La Recherche among the nominees for Saturday's $75,000 Aspidistra Handicap. La Recherche is a Kentucky-bred and $40,000 of the Aspidistra purse comes from the Florida Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Fund and is earmarked for Florida-breds only.

Because the race is one mile on the turf, and the weather this time of year is uncertain, it is extremely unlikely La Recherche would make the trip from her Churchill Downs base, even if she were eligible to compete for the entire $75,000 purse.

With La Recherche not expected, Bay Street Gal will likely be the 117-pound highweight if the race goes on turf.