Fifty Five, down 15 lengths after a half-mile, surged late to deny odds-on favorite La Coronel the win in Saturday’s $155,000 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 4-1 third choice in a field of eight three-year-old fillies, Fifty Five was up to win by a neck under Jose Ortiz, covering 1 1/16 miles in a stakes record 1:41.60 on the firm turf.
A homebred racing for Empire Equines (John and Sandy Crowe) and trained by Tom Bush, Fifty Five paid $10.20. La Coronel finished a half-length clear of second choice Compelled.
“The trainer just told me to keep patient and when you ask her, she is going to give you a big run,” Ortiz said. “I just tried to follow (La Coronel) because I knew she was going to be tough, and as soon as we passed the eighth pole, I knew we had a decent chance to win.”
Fifty Five is the first stakes winner by her multiple Grade 1-winning sire Get Stormy, who was also trained by Bush.
This was the first stakes win by Fifty Five, a New York-bred out of the stakes-placed Soave, by Brahms. A turf maiden winner in her second start at Aqueduct in November, Fifty Five next won an allowance at Gulfstream and then finished a close third in the Sweetest Chant (G3). Her record now stands at 5-3-0-2, $162,600.
“The fractions (:22.83 for the quarter and :46.90 for the half, set by runaway leader Like a Hurricane) helped us quite a bit, but she did move up on the backside with the rest of the field and was in pretty good shape,” Bush said. “It’s a terrific feeling. She just won a graded stakes and has improved every time we’ve run her, and you can’t ask more from a horse than that.”
The five-year-old Stanford set a new track record for 1 1/16 miles on the main track with a facile victory in the $60,000 Challenger. Owned by Stonestreet Stables and Coolmore, Stanford led wire-to-wire and won by 3 1/4 lengths over Ami’s Flatter in a time of 1:41.75, besting the previous mark of 1:42.45 set last month by the three-year-old McCraken in the Sam F. Davis (G3).
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Stanford paid $3 as the 1-2 favorite. Finishing third was Hereditary.
This prep could set Stanford up for a title defense in next month’s $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (G2), a race the son of Malibu Moon won by two lengths in 2016. Stanford’s only other graded triumph last term came in the December 17 Harlan’s Holiday (G3) at Gulfstream.
In the $75,000 Columbia for three-year-olds on the turf, Sonic Boom ($8) edged 5-2 favorite Profiteer by a neck with Holiday Stone another neck behind in third. Owned by Lothenbach Stables, trained by Ian Wilkes and ridden by Julien Leparoux, Sonic Boom covered one mile in 1:34.73.
This was the first stakes win by Sonic Boom, a son of More Than Ready who ran second in the $102,000 Zuma Beach at Santa Anita in October and fourth in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream last month in his two prior stakes engagements.