Under a canny ride by jockey Carlos Montalvo, Starship Bonita held off a charging Dessert Honeys down the stretch Saturday to win the $400,000 My Dear Girl Division of the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Laurence Leavy – known as Marlins Man for his ability to be seen at major sporting events wearing a bright orange Marlins jersey – Starship Bonita ended the summer winning two-thirds of the three-race Sire Stakes series for Leavy and trainer Steve Dwoskin. The 2-year-old filly by Gone Astray won by a neck. It was another three lengths behind Dessert Honeys to Awesome Mass in third.
The race was won at the start. Breaking from the No. 10 post, Montalvo somehow managed to get Starship Bonita over to the two path and second leaving the short run into the first turn behind the pacesetter Regal Romance.
“Oh, my, the 10 hole,” Montalvo said. “We overcame that obstacle on the first turn. We found our way out of there.”
Dwoskin said Montalvo followed the pre-race plan. “Break good, use the horse, get over, and then take back and sit and wait, wait and wait.”
After getting position going into the first turn, Montalvo raced Starship Bonita behind Regal Romance who set fractions of :24.30, :49.30 and 1:13.20. Approaching the final turn, however, Awesome Mass slipped through along the rail inside a tiring Regal Romance and took the lead. Montalvo didn’t hesitate and followed Awesome Mass with Starship Bonita before moving two-wide and taking the lead at the top of the stretch. The winner still had to hold off Dessert Honeys, who was bothered leaving the gate, steadied around the first turn, and five-wide entering the stretch. It was too much to ask, however, as Starship Bonita held on for the win.
“I was just hoping at the end,” Dwoskin said. “I saw the five coming again and was hoping I trained her good enough to be up at the end.”
That training included a seven furlong work the previous Saturday, which included galloping out 1 1/8 miles.
Leavy, who did not attend Starship Bonita’s victory Sept. 2 in the Susan’s Girl Division of the Sire Stakes, was not in attendance Saturday. “He said he didn’t want to jinx the horse,” Dwoskin said. “I said, ‘Good, stay away.’ “
Dwoskin said he had no immediate plans for the winning filly. “I’ll just see what happens and see how she comes out of the race and pick I spot I think we can win.”
Source: Gulfstream Park