BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Live Oak Plantantion homebred Forever Souper lacked room coming out of the turn but was able to tip out at the top of the lane to catch stablemate Souper Blessing inside the final sixteenth of a mile to win the $75,000 Sunshine Turf at Gulfstream Park Sunday. A field of seven older Florida-breds went a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass in the Sunshine Turf, which also offered a $20,000 Top 3 Florida Sire Stakes bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
It was the first career stakes victory for the Michael Trombetta-trained Forever Souper, who won by a length ahead of Souper Blessing in second with 44-1 longshot Space Runner third. Sunshine Turf defending champion Roaring Forties, Boppy O and Me and Mr. C completed the order of finish. None of the top three finishers qualified for the Florida Sire Stakes bonus money.
Forever Souper and jockey Paco Lopez broke a step slow from post two in the Sunshine Turf as Roaring Forties went straight to the front from post four and took a clear lead around the clubhouse turn.
Roaring Forties finished the first two furlongs in :24.12 as Forever Souper raced just to the inside of Boppy O in a joint second from about a length-and-a-half back with Me and Mr. C chasing in fourth behind them.
Roaring Forties kept his clear lead down the back stretch and remained unchallenged into the far turn after a half-mile in :43.18 before Souper Blessing and Boppy O began to pick up the pace approaching the quarter-mile marker, bracketing Forever Souper on the rail.
Roaring Forties and Souper Blessing hit the top of the stretch noses apart as Forever Souper switched to the outside and Space Runner used a ground-saving trip to become a factor on the inside. Those four all had a chance passing the sixteenth pole when Forever Souper shot to front in the four path to finish in 1:40.01 on the firm turf.
“Paco save the ground and Edwin was forced wide. Luckily, we ran 1-2,” said Chris Aro, Trombetta’s assistant trainer.
Forever Souper paid $11.60 to win.
It was the third win in five starts by Forever Souper, who had won an allowance race and a second condition, $30,000 optional claiming in consecutive starts over the Monmouth Park turf in September and October respectively. Forever Souper then finished off the board over a sloppy mile in an off-the-turf allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 20 then returned two months later to run second to Candidate in an upper level, $100,000 optional claiming at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 24—his last race prior to the Sunshine Turf.
“Forever Souper, he came into this race at the right time. He needed that last race at Tampa and had a very solid workout last weekend,” Aro said.
By American Pharoah out of Mighty Souper, by War Front, Forever Souper now has five wins in 12 starts with a second and two thirds with earnings of $212,255. The 5-year-old gelding is the first stakes-winner for Mighty Souper, who has produced two winners from two starters and five foals. She has an unraced 2-year-old, Souper Gin Can Win, by Lookin At Lucky; an unnamed yearling colt by Lookin At Lucky and a weanling colt, Mighty Yaupon, by Yaupon. Mighty Souper was bred to Ocala Stud stallion Roadster in 2023.
Return to the Jan. 21 issue of Wire to Wire