Marco Thoroughbred Corp.'s Mo Cash battled favored Three Rules in the stretch and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes Dec. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-old Florida-bred colts and geldings was the second black-type win for the Adios Charlie gelding. He won the Ocala Breeders' Sales Sophomore Stakes also at Tampa in April, ran second in the May 20 Big Drama Stakes, and was also second in the July 1 Carry Back Stakes (G3) behind Three Rules.
In Saturday's test Mo Cash and jockey Antonio Gallardo tracked in fourth and then moved up along the rail to third as Epic Drama led the seven-horse field with fractions of :22.65 and :45.27 through a half-mile. Around the turn, Three Rules attempted to take the lead but Mo Cash split rivals and gained a narrow advantage. Three Rules battled back in the stretch, but Mo Cash dug in to finish first in 1:22.84 for trainer Ron Spatz. Zipping was 5 1/4 lengths back in third, with Overcame in fourth.
"I kept feeling I had a lot of horse, and all the time (Three Rules) kept getting closer to me, my horse gave me more," Gallardo said. "This horse is a fighter, and I had a good feeling about him in the post parade and during the (warm-up). When I saw the hole, I knew I had to go through it, and he kept fighting all the way to the wire."
The winner returned $4.80, $2.60, and $2.10 across the board.
Bred by Amanda Thompson Gonzalez and Gerardo Gonzalez in Florida, out of the winning Eltish mare Mo's Prize, Mo Cash was a $11,000 purchase by Spatz at the 2016 Ocala Breeders' Sales June sale of 2-year-olds in training. He now has four wins and two seconds in eight starts, with earnings of $246,984.
Video: FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire S. (BT)
One race earlier on the card, in the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Surprise Wedding unleashed a late rally in the stretch to run by Stormy Embrace and favorite R Angel Katelyn.
William Rainbow's homebred daughter of High Cotton and jockey Jesus Rios stalked the pace in the early stages of the seven-furlong race, then drove to the wire going outside rivals. Surprise Wedding finished the distance in a final time of 1:22.40, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Stormy Embrace, with R Angel Katelyn another 1 3/4 lengths back in third.
"Going into the turn, (Rios) actually had her head cocked out because he had so much horse," said trainer David Fawkes. "Going down the backside, I was like, 'Whoa, baby, slow down.'"
"From the quarter-mile pole to the wire, she flew," Rios said.
Surprise Wedding has three wins and two seconds from nine starts with earnings of $241,980.
Video: FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire S. (BT)
"We have always liked this horse and knew he has tons of speed, and he did not disappoint us," Delacour said. "I told Danny (Centeno) it would be great if he could sit off the pace and teach him something, but he was so aggressive and has so much natural speed. It was very impressive."
Delacour said the $125,000 Pasco Stakes Jan. 20 is a likely target for Tricks to Doo's next start.
"I think that would be a great stepping stone, if he is ready," the trainer said.
Bred by D. C. Goff, out of the winning Polish Numbers mare Doolittle, Tricks to Doo was a $600,000 purchase by Lael Stable from Cary Frommer at the Ocala Breeders' Sale's March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Frommer purchased the colt for $115,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale.
Video: Inaugural S. (BT)
Almond Roca and jockey Pablo Morales completed the six furlongs in 1:10.01. It was the second win in four career starts for the Graham Motion-trained Speightstown filly, who was bred by Jerry and Ann Moss in Kentucky.
"I thought she won very impressively," Motion said. "She had a very tough trip in her previous race (a fifth-place finish at Laurel in the Smart Halo Stakes), so I more or less threw out that race. We thought today was a good chance to get her some black-type, but I was surprised how easily she won."