Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell's Stonehedge swept the first round of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association Florida Sire Stakes series Aug. 1 at Gulfstream Park by winning the Dr. Fager division for 2-year-old males and the Desert Vixen for juvenile females.
The victories came with different types in the betting, first with longshot Go Jo Jo Go in the $100,000 Desert Vixen and then with odds-on favorite Breeze on By in the $100,000 Dr. Fager. The Michael Yates-trained Go Jo Jo Go ($45.40) and the Ralph Nicks-trained Breeze On By ($3.40) were the 13th and 14th winners, respectively, for Stonehedge in the tradition-rich series for juveniles sire by accredited stallions standing in Florida. This tally is second only to Jacks or Better Farm's 19, according to Gulfstream Park publicity.
"Mr. Campbell has been one of the big breeders in Florida for a long time. He's put a lot of money and effort into it," Nicks said. "He deserves it."
Breeze On By also provided Nicks with his 600th victory, as well as his seventh Florida Sire Stakes success since 2016.
Breeze On By, a son of Cajun Breeze , set a solid pace into the stretch past fractions of :22.37 and :45.68 under Emisael Jaramillo for the first half-mile of the six-furlong stakes. Gatsby, who saved ground into the far turn under Hector Berrios, made a menacing outside challenge leaving the turn into the homestretch and managed to put his head in front of the pacesetter in midstretch, but Breeze On By fought back gamely to edge away to victory by a length.
"It was a big race," Nicks said. "He got tested. You never know what kind of grit they're going to show until they're put in that position. (Gatsby) got the jump on us and he fought back. That was impressive."
Breeze On By, who scored a frontrunning six-length debut victory at Gulfstream July 12, finished in 1:10.85 on a sloppy (sealed) track. Gatsby finished 8 1/2 lengths ahead of third-place finisher Boca Boy.
Video: FTBOA Florida Sire Dr. Fager S. (BT)
The Dr. Fager and the Desert Vixen will be followed in the series by the $200,000 Affirmed Stakes and the $200,000 Susan's Girl Stakes for fillies, both slated for seven furlongs Aug. 29, and the $400,000 In Reality Stakes and the $400,000 My Dear Girl Stakes for fillies, both to be run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles Sept. 26.
Breeze On By will have the opportunity to give Nicks his fourth consecutive victory in the seven-furlong second leg of the Florida Sire Stakes. Nicks saddled Soutache (2017), Garter and Tie (2018) and Liam's Lucky Charm (2019) for victories in the Affirmed.
Go Jo Jo Go, a maiden, was more of a surprise in the Desert Vixen, though Yates considered the race worth trying.
"They don't move the calendar for the (Sire) Stakes," he said. "So if you have a horse who can run a bit, even if they're a maiden, it's worth taking a shot."
Go Jo Jo Go, a 2-year-old daughter of Khozan , raced six furlongs in 1:11.47.
On winning the opening leg of the three-race series, Yates said: "It's a great series for the Florida sires. It has a lot of history to it, and it's sort of what we aim for."