She was last early, but closed with a rush when it mattered.
Homebred Fifty Five, the first black-type stakes winner for Crestwood Farm's second-crop sire Get Stormy , rallied willingly March 11 in the $200,000 Florida Oaks (G3T) to eke out a neck tally over grade 3 winner La Coronel, picking up her first graded victory and setting a stakes record in the process.
Video: Florida Oaks (G3T)
“She’s a heartthrob, because she always comes from behind like that,” said John Crowe, who bred and owns Fifty Five with his wife Sandy under their Empire Equines banner.
Runaway leader Like a Hurricane cut quick fractions of :23.83 and :46.90, and ran three-quarters in 1:12.09 before relinquishing her advantage. After favored La Coronel wrested the lead in deep stretch, New York-bred Fifty Five flew by both of them in the final strides under jockey Jose Ortiz. Compelled was another half-length back in third, followed by Dynatail. Super Marina, Daddys Lil Darling, Valentine Wish, and Like a Hurricane completed the order of finish.
“When Ortiz took her back early, I thought ‘She’s done this before,’” said Sandy Crowe. “But when they turned for home, I said ‘Get her moving, get her moving.’”
Ortiz did just that, sending Fifty Five for her third victory in five starts, off a gaining third in the Feb. 4 Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park. Off at odds of 4-1, Fifty Five returned $10.20, $3.40, and $2.20. La Coronel paid $2.60 and $2.10, and Compelled brought $2.40.
“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 out of the Crowes’ Brahms mare Soave, who died earlier this year.
“The fractions 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.”
Paco Lopez was aboard the Kiaran McLaughlin trainee, who gobbled up pacesetter Isabella Sings through the stretch, posting a half-length victory. Dickinson’s time of 1:46.75 for the 1 1/8-mile test was only .49 seconds off the course record set in last year’s Hillsborough by champion turf mare Tepin.
Elysea's World rallied nicely to finish second, while never really threatening the winner. Isabella Sings finished third and Evidently was fourth, followed by My Impression, Light in Paris, Family Meeting, Lots o' Lex, Emerald Pond, and Swiss Range. Dickinson paid $8, $4.20, and $2.80, Elysea's World brought $4 and $3.20, and Isabella Sings paid $2.40.
Bred by Darley out of the A.P. Indy mare Little Belle, Dickinson improved to 6-for-13 with her second consecutive stakes victory. She is 4-for-5 since being moved to the turf last September.
“We’ve been patient with her, and we’re starting to be rewarded,” said Jimmy Bell, president and racing manager in the United States for Godolphin. “Paco fits her very well and he gave her a great ride today. We love her versatility, but the turf is where she has really started to flourish.”