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HRN Original Blog:
From Coast to Coast

Florida Filly's second annual Gulfstream Park Awards

 
The 2013-2014 Champions Meet at Gulfstream has concluded, but though the big meet is over, Gulfstream’s gates will not close. Set to run its second spring/summer meet, racing action will continue on though the big names will be moving north to the Kentucky and New York tracks. Though I dropped the ball last year, I am back to present the Gulfstream Park Awards, the Eclipse Award equivalents for the Championship Meet. There were plenty of thrills throughout the winter, but who shined when it mattered most?
 
 
Champion 3-Year Old Male: Cairo Prince, Constitution, Wildcat Red
 
Constitution might have won Gulfstream’s biggest race for three-year olds, the G1 Florida Derby, but it was Wildcat Red who was most impressive throughout the Gulfstream Champions Meet. He made 4 starts during the meet, all in stakes. He won both the G3 Hutcheson and the G2 Fountain of Youth. He also fell just a head short in the Gulfstream Park Derby and lost the Florida Derby by just a neck. The D’wildcat colt proved to be as gritty a competitor as they come, consistently running winning races and never giving an inch down the lane. Owned by Honors Stable Corp and trained by Jose Garoffalo, Wildcat Red is pointing toward the G1 Kentucky Derby.
 
 
Champion 3-Year Old Female: Candy Kitty, In Tune, Onlyforyou
 
Ill-fated Onlyforyou would likely have continued her winning streak, but a fatal accident ended both her career and her life. During her short career, she was brilliant, taking steps forward in each race. She was a perfect 4-for-4 overall with three of those wins coming at Gulfstream. She notched victories in both the G2 Davona Dale and the G2 Forward Gal, as well as an additional win in an optional claimer. She likely would have been the favorite for the Gulfstream Oaks and one of the top picks for the Kentucky Oaks had fate not interfered.
 
 
Champion Older Male: Lea, Lochte, Palace Malice
 
Bill Mott trained Lea took the dirt handicap division by storm. Making his first start over fast dirt a winning one, the son of First Samurai drew away to win the G3 Hal’s Hope by 3 ¼ lengths. He proved that victory was no fluke by posting an upset victory over favored Will Take Charge in Gulfstream’s signature handicap event, the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. While winning that event by 1 ½ lengths, Lea also set a new track record for the 1 1/8 mile distance, stopping the clock in 1:46:86.
 
 
Champion Older Female: Devil’s Cave, Groupie Doll, Heart Stealer
 
A bit of a late bloomer, Marty Wolfson trained Devil’s Cave really got her act together in the latter half of 2013. Racing 4 times at the 2013-2014 Gulfstream Meet, the daughter of Put It Back recorded a 4: 2-1-1 record at the track. She won both the Ocala Stakes and the G2 Sabin Stakes and ran 2nd in the Sunshine Millions Distaff and 3rd in the G3 Rampart Stakes. The filly set a new track record of 1:41 flat while winning the Sabin, but 3-year old Social Inclusion bested that mark by three-hundredths of a second less than a month later.
 
 
Champion Male Sprinter: Falling Sky, Ribo Bobo, Singanothersong
 
Ribo Bobo has one of the most heart-warming stories going for him, but he also has a load of talent to boot. Claimed by his current connections for $8,000 on January 9, 2013, Mr. Amore Stable lost their star to the claim game only to reclaim him on March 8, 2013. During the winter months, Ribo Bobo clicked off wins in the Claiming Crown Express, the Sunshine Millions Sprint, and the Caixa Eletronica. A third place finish in the Sir Shackleton on the Florida Derby undercard prevented the popular former claimer from having a perfect record at the meet.
 
 
Champion Female Sprinter: Groupie Doll, Heart Stealer, My Pal Chrisy
 
When you’re good, you’re good, and Groupie Doll is great. As good as Heart Stealer was in her two victories at Gulfstream, she was severely overmatched by two-time Eclipse Award winner Groupie Doll in the G3 Hurricane Bertie. Racing in the colors of Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for just the second time, Groupie Doll gave the field a good head start after she blew the start. The champion mare was only toying with the field, however, as she made a sustained run from the back of the field to blow them all away to the tune of a 7 length victory in near track record time. The race was Groupie Doll’s swan song, and the mare has since had a date with Tapit.
 
 
Champion Turf Male: Lochte, Newsdad, Twilight Eclipse
 
A solid field assembled for the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap headlined by Amira’s Prince. Not quite sharp enough off the layoff, Amira’s Prince conceded defeat to upstart Lochte, the longest shot in the field, who burst through on the rail surprising them all. A definite late bloomer, the 4-year old only broke his maiden on December 14, 2013 and then went on to win an optional claimer and run third in another optional claimer before his big victory. He followed that up with a close second in the G1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita, proving his win at Gulfstream was no one-hit wonder.
 
 
Champion Turf Female: Anjaz, Centre Court, Parranda
 
Trainer Thomas Albertrani had Anjaz ready to rock-n-roll off the layoff. With Rajiv Maragh in the irons, the mare walked the dog on the lead in the 1 ½ mile G3 Orchid. Able to set comfortable splits throughout, Anjaz had plenty left in the tank to rocket home a winner by 2 ½ lengths, getting her final half mile in a quick 46:75. She beat a solid field, including G3 Very One winner Inimitable Romanee.
 
 
Horse of the Meet: Devil’s Cave, Lea, Wildcat Red
 
As impressive as 3-year old Wildcat Red was in all 4 of his starts at the meet, top honors had to go to Lea for his performance in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. With that and his Hal’s Hope performance, he has announced himself as a top player in a loaded handicap division. The late summer goal is the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap, but a big meeting with Game On Dude in the Charles Town Classic looms in the near future.
 
 
Top Trainer: Michael Maker, Todd Pletcher, Dale Romans
 
It is no surprise that South Florida stalwart Todd Pletcher takes home an 11th training title at Gulfstream Park. During the 2013-2014 Champions Meet, Pletcher sent out 226 starters and recorded 66 winners, 40 second place finishers, and 30 third place finishers. He finished up the meet with his charges winning at a 29% clip and finishing in the money at a 60% clip for total purses of $3,747,327. Major wins at the meet included the G1 Florida Derby (Constitution), the G2 Gulfstream Oaks (In Tune), the G2 Gulfstream Park Handicap (Palace Malice), the G2 Forward Gal (Onlyforyou), and the G2 Davona Dale (Onlyforyou).
 
 
Top Jockey: Javier Castellano, Paco Lopez, Luis Saez
 
The reigning Eclipse Award winner for Top Jockey made it a no contest in the Sunshine State. His 131 winners from 428 starters was well ahead of Paco Lopez’s 88 winners. Castellano’s mounts also finished second 71 times and third 55 times. The top jockey completed the meet winning at a 31% clip and finishing in the money at a 60% clip for total purses of $5,307,822. He booted home the winners of the G2 Gulfstream Oaks, G1 Florida Derby, and the G2 Davona Dale, among many others.
 
 
Top Owner: Frank Carl Calabrese, Northwest Stud Stables, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey
 
Ken and Sarah Ramsey have taken the horse racing industry by storm over the past couple of years. Supporting their stallion Kitten’s Joy with their mares has resulted in many top notch victories across the country, several leading owner titles, and a few broken records for number of victories per meet. They added another leading owner title for the Gulfstream Champions Meet by recording 36 wins from 122 starters. They also notched 18 second place finishes and 15 third place finishes for purse money totaling $926,620. 

 

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Older Comments about Florida Filly's second annual Gulfstream Park Awards...

That one was a tough decision, Brian, but I felt that I couldn't ignore Devil's Cave when she'd been so consistently good throughout the meet.
You can add the Star of the meet. The track superintendant,the one who concocted a surface that made average horses run and look like Superstars. Fast clockings have always been an owners dream,thus the constant loyalty to the affectionately dubbed 'indianapolis Speedway"
I think I would have to go with Constitution. He beat Wildcat Red in their only meeting in GP's biggest race to stay unbeaten.
I agree with plenty here, Ashley ... well done! I would give the nod to the Doll in the Older Female division as well, but that's coming from a true Groupie ;-)

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis
  
 

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

 

Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

 

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.