B.B. Best Gets Real in Florida Stallion Stakes

B.B. Best won the rubber-match in the $400,000 In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes for 2-year-olds by 1 3/4 lengths on Saturday at Calder Race Course.

The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained son of Yes It's True was ridden by Eddie Castro and covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:47 3/5. The win was the second in FSS competition for Castro and the seventh for Plesa.

B.B. Best won the Dr. Fager Divison to start the three-race FSS series in August but finished a distant third to Cin Cin in last month's Affirmed. Cin Cin finished seventh as the 3-1 second choice Saturday while B.B. Best went gate-to-wire at odds of 7-1.

"He's more of a free running horse and doesn't like to be taken a hold of," Plesa said. "I guess that was his excuse in his last race. After that, we decided the strategy would be to have Eddie let him run away from them and let him run his race. He's worked a mile numerous times, so I was confident he'd get the two turns.

A $150,000 purchase by Beatrice Oxenberg & Laurie Plesa at the OBS February 2-Year-Old Sale, B. B. Best broke his maiden at first asking on May 22 and came right back to win the $40,000 Wynn Dot Comma Stakes in June. Overall his record stands at four wins, a third and a fourth from six trips to the post.

Breaking alertly under Castro, B. B. Best was three-wide into the clubhouse turn and took the lead well before the quarter, getting that marker in :23 2/5. He led every step of the way thereafter, posting a half in :48, three-quarters in 1:13 2/5 and the mile in 1:40 2/5. He got out a bit in the lane but was never truly threatened.

"He was lugging out a little at the end because he was slow switching leads," Castro noted.

Anthony J. made a belated rally to finish second in the 13-horse field, 3 1/2 lengths to the good of Closing Argument, the 13-10 choice in the field of 13.

The winner earned $240,000 to jump his career bankroll to $349,550.

"We'll sit back now and relax and enjoy this win," Plesa said. "He's had a tough campaign and it'll give us time to regroup."

B. B. Best paid $16, $7.80 and $5. Anthony J. paid $8.60 and $5.20. Closing Argument returned $3.40.

(Chart, Equibase)