OLDSMAR, FL. – Over the past two months, almost all of Redbud Road’s workouts at Calder in Miami had been the fastest of the morning.
So her trainer, Stanley Gold, liked her chances in Wednesday’s $30,000 Minaret Prep at Tampa Bay Downs as long as the 3-year-old filly enjoyed the track surface.
Gliding across the dirt every step of the way, Redbud Road stalked the speedy early fractions by Becausei’mworthit for a half-mile before launching her winning move.
Under jockey Daniel Centeno, Redbud Road powered to a 4 ½-length victory from a game Becausei’mworthit to stamp herself as the favorite for the $50,000 Minaret Stakes on Dec. 29.
Redbud Road, a daughter of Awesome of Course-Ladyinareddress bred in Florida by Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm and owned by Jacks or Better, sped the six-furlong distance in 1:10.18. She paid $13.20 as the co-second choice in the nine-horse field. Gilhooly’s Super finished third.
Redbud Road was one of two 3-year-olds in the race.
“I thought if she liked the track she could run big, because she’s been training really well and Calder is a deeper track,” Gold said. “It looks like she did and it all fell together, so I’m happy. Daniel is a savvy rider and it was a perfectly timed ride. He stayed out of trouble and he had the horse when he asked for it.”
The 11-10 favorite, Daddy’s Honor, raced in mid-pack throughout and finished fifth.
Centeno was content to allow Becausei’mworthit to set an uncontested pace early. “There was serious speed in the race, and the leader spread the field out and we didn’t need to lose any ground when I asked her getting to the turn,” Centeno said.
“She ran really well and she was going well late.”
Two years ago, Brei and Gold campaigned 2-year-old Eclipse Award champion Awesome Feather, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and five other races before being sold to Frank Stronach for $2.3 million. Awesome Feather is also by Awesome of Course.
“I’ve lost track of how many stakes winners I’ve trained from him,” Gold said of the stallion, who will stand for $7,500 at Journeyman Stud in 2013.
Redbud Road has won five of 14 starts, including three stakes at Calder. She was third in the Grade III Azalea Stakes on July 7. She had finished out of the money in her four previous starts before Wednesday while facing tough competition, trying turf and stretching out to a mile-and-a-sixteenth.
“She convinced me 100 percent that two turns is no longer in her future,” Gold said of her last-place finish last month in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff. “Right now, we really haven’t gone past this race and the Minaret. We are here for the meet, so we’ll see what comes up after that.”
Pedro Cotto, Jr. rode two winners on Wednesday’s card, scoring with the 3-year-old filly Jill Golden in the fifth race for owner Maureen Hyland and trainer Angel Hyland and in the eighth on 3-year-old filly Prothoe for owners Winning Stables, Inc., Ray Rech and La Marca Stable and trainer Gerald Bennett.
Live racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Friday with a first-race post time of 12:38 p.m. The track is open every day except Dec. 25 for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.