Walter Donnelly's 2-year-old colt Straight Faced is undefeated in four starts after winning the $150,000 Affirmed Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Saturday at Calder's "Juvenile Showcase."
Trained by Steve DiMauro, Straight Faced won the toughest race of his brief career by a half-length. The red-hot jockey Manoel Cruz, winner of four races on the Saturday card, rode him to victory.
Winner of the Dr. Fager in his last start, Straight Faced is now poised for a sweep of the FSS series. The final race - the $400,000 In Reality - will take place on "Festival of the Sun" day Oct. 14 at Calder. Five colts have previously swept the Florida Stallion Stakes, while two fillies have accomplished the feat.
Straight Faced stalked the pace set by El Bandido Rojo in the seven-furlong race. He responded when asked at the top of the stretch, and it wasn't an easy task. El Bandido Rojo took the winning colt wide and didn't relinquish the lead without a fight. In the end, Straight Faced was the victor over a fast-closing Villainage on the rail. Green Vegas also ran late to finish third. El Bandido Rojo was fourth. The winner covered the distance in 1:26.03.
The 2-to-5 favorite, Straight Faced, who won his first three races by a combined 14 3/4 lengths, paid $2.80, $2.20, and $2.10. Villainage, also second in the Dr. Fager Division of the FSS, returned $3.20 and $2.60. Green Vegas paid $2.80.