The $100,000 Birdonthewire Stakes at Calder Casino and Race Course Saturday may not determine the top 2-year-old at the Miami Gardens, Fla., track this season, but it certainly looks to have an impact—at least on the best freshman sprinter category. And the irony is that the probable favorite is a Calder home boy returning from a summer in New Jersey and New York. The Birdonthewire has attracted a field of eight 2-year-old colts and geldings to go six furlongs.
Owned by co-breeder David Melin of Sunny Isle Beach, Fla., in partnership with Laurie Plesa of Plantation, Fla., Brave Dave comes into the Birdonthewire with an impressive win the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park Sept. 2. The three-quarter-length winning margin in the Sapling was not what made the victory notable rather it was youngsters ability to overcome a very troublesome start to come back and win a graded stake.
At the start of the Sapling, Brave Dave stumbled badly when breaking from post three, then bumped with the four-horse to his outside while trying to recover. Before they finished the first two furlongs of the Sapling however, Brave Dave and jockey Paco Lopez had put daylight on the field and never let another horse put a nose in front while winning in an impressive 1:10.44 for the six furlongs.
Trained by co-breeder Edward Plesa Jr., of Plantation, Fla., Brave Dave now has two victories from only three starts with his only loss coming when fourth in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga in July behind winner Bern Identity. His best race however, may have been his first over special weight maidens at Calder in late June when he garnered a Birdonthewire field high Beyer Speed Figure of 83.
Brave Dave was bred in Florida by Melin, Plesa and Bea Oxenberg of Coral Gables, Fla., and he is by Put it Back, who stands at Bridlewood Farm in Ocala. Lopez will travel from Monmouth Park in New Jersey to ride Brave Dave from post seven.
Expected to be among the main challengers for Brave Dave are to local stakes winners looking to improve off of losing their last starts in Florida-breds Sr. Quisqueyano and Two T’s At Two B.
Sr. Quisqueyano broke his maiden in nice fashion on Apr. 22 at Calder, but it was his next two races that began to separate him from the pack. He won a $30,000 allowance race at Calder by more than 12 lengths in August then came back to take the $73,000 Seacliff Stakes by nearly 14 lengths. Trained by Luis Loviares for Rosa Stephany Taveras, Sr. Quisqueyano suffered his only defeat after enduring a speed duel in the $79,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes at Calder Sept. 15 when second to Itsmyluckyday.
Sr. Quisqueyano, a son of Exclusive Quality, was bred in Florida by Do-Little Farm LLC and will break to the outside of Brave Dave in post eight. Jozbin Santana has been given the mount.
Two T’s At Two B, by Untuttable, started his career fast as well, winning his first three starts before being upset in the Affirmed division of the Florida Stallion Stakes. Bred by his owner Gilbert G. Campbell of Tyngsboro, Mass., Two T’s At Two B broke his maiden by more than seven lengths in his first race then subsequently won the $75,000 Frank Gomez Memorial at Calder in June. He then won the Dr. Fager division of the Florida Stallion Stakes on Jul. 28 before being upset as the 2-5 favorite in the Affirmed division of the Florida Stallion Stakes.
Trained by Kathleen O’Connell, Two T’s At Two B will break from post four with regular rider Eduardo Nunez in the irons.
Photo by Equiphoto