Despite the presence of impressive Seacliff Stakes winner Sr. Quisqueyanao, folks wagering on the $96,150 Birdonthewire Stakes at Calder Casino and Race Course Saturday, made New Jersey invader Brave Dave the favorite. Not only was he the favorite, but the South Florida punters made him the odds-on favorite at 3-5.
The Florida-bred colt responded by validating those wagers and went on to win the six furlong stake in what appeared to be an effortless victory. Coming into the Birdonthewire off of a victory in the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park Sept. 2, the Edward Plesa-trained son of Bridlewood Farm stallion Put It Back, broke on top from post five and went immediately to the lead. By the time he went the first quarter-mile in a rapid :21.51, Brave Dave had put two lengths on Mind Spell in second, who was a length and one-half ahead of Singanothersong running in third. Mind Spell and jockey Luis Saez moved closer around the turn as Brave Dave continued his lead while covering the first half-mile in :45.03, but the pace eventually got to Mind Spell who could not keep up once they hit the top of the stretch. By this time jockey Paco Lopez, who had traveled to Miami Gardens, Fla. from New Jersey to keep the mount on Brave Dave, had let out a notch and the 2-year-old colt responded like a veteran.
With the only question down the stretch being who would finish second, Brave Dave went on to win the Birdonthewire by nearly five lengths while stopping the clock in 1:11.51 over the fast track at Calder. Sr. Quisqueyano finished second, a nose in front of Singanothersong in third with Mind Spell fourth.
“I know he’s a nice horse and that’s why I came to ride him,” Lopez said. “I like this horse a lot. There weren’t any horses in here that could go with him. And he got out of the gate so quick he just got to his spot by himself. At the sixteenth [pole] I asked him a little, but there really wasn’t much for him to do because no one was coming after us,” Lopez said. “And when we hit the finish line, he was still going easy.
Brave Dave returned $3.40, $2.20, and $2.10 for his popular victory. Sr. Quisqueyano paid $2.60 and $2.40 when runner-up for the second straight time, while Singanothersong returned $3.20 when crossing the wire third.
With his victory in the Birdonthewire, Brave Dave is now a three-time winner from four career starts with his lone defeat coming in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga where he finished fourth. The colt has amassed $151,100 in earnings. Brave Dave was bred in Florida by Plesa in partnership with David Melin, both of Plantation, Fla., and Bea Oxenberg of Miami, Fla. Brave Dave currently races for Melin and Laurie Plesa.
Photo by Coady