Cape Royale, switching from turf to the all-weather track at the Ocala Training Center, led all the way to win the $150,000 Darley Ocala Breeders' Sale Championship Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings by 1 1/4 lengths Feb. 16.
Trained by William White for Oxbow Racing, Cape Royale was guided to victory by Cornelio Velasquez. The 1 1/16-mile non-wagering event was clocked in 1:43 over the Safetrack racing surface. The race, the richest event among five stakes at the Ocala facility, was restricted to horses who were sold in an OBS auction. Up next at OBS is the February select sale of two-year-olds in training, set for noon on Feb. 17.
Sabi Sabi, ridden by Jose Lezcano, finished second by five lengths over Swinging Bernie and John Velazquez. Two-time stakes winner Southern Exchange faded to seventh in the 14-horse field.
The second win in Cape Royale's six-race career was worth $90,000 and jumped his career earnings to $104,876. The Kentucky-bred son of Chapel Royal-So True, by Lord At War, broke his maiden on turf in a one-mile claiming race Nov. 20 at Calder Race Course. Cape Royale sold for $50,000 at the OBS Company's August 2007 selected sale of yearlings.
Swinging Bernie broke alertly to get the lead out of the gate, but Cape Royale soon took charge to the outside and set a fast pace. Fractions were :22 3/5, :45 3/5 and 1:10 2/5. Cape Royale shook loose to lead by 2 1/2 lengths mid-stretch and outlasted Sabi Sabi, who circled rivals on the far turn and closed with interest. Swinging Bernie was in strong position throughout but was outrun.
Cape Royale came into the race off a fading 12th-place finish in the one-mile Dania Beach Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf in his 2009 debut on Jan. 17. In his only prior try on a synthetic track, the dark bay colt finished fifth in his debut effort at Keeneland versus maidens at 4 1/2 furlongs last April.
Albina, Beeson and Beeson bred the winner.
Mr No Socks finished fourth, followed by Skipadate, Zooming White Star, Southern Exchange, Awesome Rhythm, Miles and Miles, Pressure Point, Charles Pridgen, Singingwithangels, Dynamic Force and All Country.
The $100,000 Darley OBS Championship Stakes for 3-year-old fillies went to Fitz Just Right, who prevailed in gate-to-wire fashion by a half-length for jockey Alan Garcia.
The final time for the 1 1/16-mile event was 1:42 1/5. Best Lass, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, finished second, with La Rocca and Velazquez 1 1 /2 lengths farther back in third.
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Fitz Just Right won for the third time in four starts. Kiaran McLaughlin, who supplemented Fitz Just Right to the race for $7,500, is the winning conditioner. The bay daughter of Seattle Fitz-Light Line, by Line in The Sand, earned $60,000 for her first stakes win, increasing her bankroll to $112,801. She also earned a 2009 or 2010 season to Darley stallion Henny Hughes.
Fitz Just Right was bred in Florida by J&J Equine Investment. The most expensive filly in the nine-horse field, she sold for $160,000 at the OBS 2008 February select sale of two-year-olds in training. She is a two-time OBS graduate, selling first at the 2007 January winter mixed sale.
Fitz Just Right took the lead from Hot Chilli Pepper soon after the start and set a solid pace -- :23 3/5, :47 1/5 and 1:11 1/5 -- to shake clear briefly leaving the final turn. She held off Best Lass in game fashion all the way to the wire.
In other stakes action at the Ocala Training Center:
* Dukes Flying Tiger led all the way in winning the $50,000 Florida Thoroughbred Charities Stakes by three lengths for jockey Lezcano. The 5-year-old Tiger Ridge gelding is owned by Acclaimed Racing Stable and trained by Kirk Ziadie. Robert Dubois bred the winner in Florida. Dukes Flying Tiger completed five furlongs in :57. Lanzera held second by a neck over the late-running My Best Pal Red.
* Pray for Action circled the field on the turn to challenge the leaders and drove clear late for Elvis Trujillo to win the $75,000 Darley OBS Sprint Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings by 1 3/4 lengths. Ronny Werner trains the gray son of Songandaprayer for Vision Racing. Milan Kosanovich bred the colt in Florida. The final time for the six-furlong race was 1:09 4/5. King Puma finished second by a nose over Bidham.
* R Brown Sugar, under brisk handling from Lezcano, outfought pacesetter Naked Passion in the final furlong en route to a three-quarters of a length win in the $50,000 Darley OBS Sprint Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Ziadie conditions R Brown Sugar for Richard N. Averill. Harold J. Plumley bred the daughter of Exchange Rate in Florida. Pretty Miss Trippi rallied for second by 1 3/4 lengths over Foxy Bailey in the six-furlong test. The winning time was 1:09 4/5.
Race recaps will be available the OBS web site at www.obssales.com.