HALLANDALE BEACH, FL—Grade 3-winners Dean Delivers and Willy Boi and fellow Grade 1-placed Baby Yoda are among 14 horses nominated to the $75,000 Sunshine Sprint to be run Saturday, Jan. 13 at Gulfstream Park.

The six-furlong Sunshine Sprint, for 4-year-olds and older, is the first of two stakes for Florida-breds on the second weekend of the new year, followed by the $75,000 Sunshine Filly and Mare Turf going one mile for females, 4-years-old and older on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Both the Sunshine Sprint and Sunshine Filly and Mare Turf will offer an additional $20,000 for any Florida Sire Stakes-eligible runner who finishes in the top three. The bonus, to be paid on a 50%-30%-20% schedule, is presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

In successive starts last summer, Stonehedge homebred Dean Delivers won the $65,000 Big Drama in May and Grade 3 Smile Sprint on July 1 at Gulfstream and was third in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt won by Elite Power at Saratoga on July 29. Placed in eight stakes, including the 2022 Swale (G2) and 2023 Fred Hooper (G3), he was second to Shaq Diesel as the favorite in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Marion County on Dec. 9 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Dean Delivers is by Stoneshedge Farm South stallion Cajun Breeze and is out of Slick and True, by Yes It’s True. He has a career record of five wins, seven seconds and a third in 16 races with earnings of $427,060.

After winning the 2021 Hutcheson at Gulfstream, Flying P Stable’s Willy Boi preceded Dean Delivers with wins in the Big Drama and Smile Sprint before a third in the Vanderbilt in 2022. Claimed for $62,500 last August at Saratoga, he exits a fourth in the Marion County.

Willy Boi is by Uncaptured out of Shining Moment, by Yes It’s True and has six wins, two seconds and two thirds in 23 career efforts with revenues of $415,385. He was bred by Ocala Stud and William J. Terrell.

Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber and Jerold Zaro’s Baby Yoda has been third or better in 15 of 21 lifetime starts with seven wins but is still seeking his first stakes victory. He has placed four times including seconds in the 2021 Malibu (G1) and 2022 Kelso (G2) and a third in the 2021 Vosburgh (G2).

Other nominees with stakes success are Turbo, winner of the 2022 Juvenile Sprint at Gulfstream unraced since finishing second in the Limehouse on New Year’s Day 2023; 2022 OBS Sophomore-winner King Cab; and Khozieress, winner of Gulfstream’s Awesome Banner overnight handicap in November. Graded-stakes placed Capture the Lion and Mish and 10-time career winner The Distractor are also prominent.

Michael Dubb, Stephen Bouchey, New Phoenix Stable and America’s Pastimes Stables’ defending champion Sweet Dani Girl, who went on to win the Distaff Turf at Tampa Bay Downs and run second in the Modesty (G3) and third in the Mint Julep (G3), tops nominees to the Sunshine Filly & Mare Turf.

Laurie Plesa and Glassman Racing’s Time Passage has put together four consecutive wins for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. including the Powder Break overnight handicap, Miss Gracie and Cellars Shiraz in succession, the latter Nov. 3, all over Gulfstream’s Tapeta course. In her lone turf try she ran fourth in the one-mile Honey Rider last May at Gulfstream.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Sister Otoole ran third in back-to-back Grade 3 stakes going a mile-and-three-eighths to end 2023, the Waya at Aqueduct and Red Carpet at Del Mar. Placed in three other Grade 3 stakes in 2021 and 2022, the 6-year-old mare has won Del Mar’s CTT & TOC, also at 11 furlongs on the grass, each of the past two years.

Also among the nominees are 2023 Azalea winner Charlie’s Wish; Chick’s Shadow, second to Time Passage in the Powder Break; Tamarindo and Prettykeen, respectively 1-2 in the Ginger Punch last June on Gulfstream’s Tapeta; and Coco, winner of the Wasted Tears overnight handicap that ran second behind Time Passage in the Cellars Shiraz.

— Brock Sheridan contributed to this article

Return to the Jan. 6 issue of Wire to Wire