An accomplished field of older horses led by graded stakes-winning Florida-breds Dean Delivers and Willy Boi are set for the $100,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Marion County at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday. The FSS Marion County is for eligible 3-year-olds and older by registered Florida stallions and will be contested at seven furlongs on the main track.

Dean Delivers won the Grade 3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park on July 1 for owner Stonehedge LLC and trainer Michael Yates but will need to bounce back from a disappointing out-of-the-money finish in the $150,000 Gil Campbell Memorial Handicap won by Octane going a mile at Gulfstream Park in his last race on Oct. 21.

The son of Stonehedge Farm South stallion Cajun Breeze out of Slick and True, by Yes It’s True was the 6-5 favorite in the Gil Campbell having just finished third behind Elite Power in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt Handicap over a sloppy six furlongs at Saratoga on July 29.

Dean Delivers also counts among his 2023 stakes victories a three-and-three-quarter lengths victory in the $90,000 Big Drama going seven furlongs at Gulfstream on May 20 and has won five of 18 starts overall with seven seconds and two thirds. With earnings of $474,060, the 4-year-old Dean Delivers is the richest among the seven contenders entered for the Marion County.

He will break from post five and jockey Emisael Jaramillo ships in from his base at Gulfstream Park to take the return mount.

Willy Boi, winner of the 2022 edition of the Smile Sprint, looks to improve on a third-place finish to Hurricane J in an upper level, $62,500 optional claiming going six-and-a-half furlongs at Gulfstream on Nov. 19.

Willy Boi will be making his third start for trainer Melanie Giddings and owner Flying P Stable, who claimed the 5-year-old gelding for $62,500 out of a fourth-place effort at Saratoga on Aug. 13.

Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud and William J. Terrell, Willy Boi has earned $410,385 from six wins in 22 starts with two seconds and two thirds after selling as a yearling to Lea Farms for $40,000 out of the Ocala Stud consignment at the 2019 Ocala Breeders October Sale.

Willy Boi is by Uncaptured out of Shining Moment, by Yes It’s True and Samy Camacho will guide him from post six.

My Purple Haze Stables’ homebred Khozeiress appears sharp coming into the Marion County, having just won the $60,000 Awesome Banner overnight handicap by a length going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Nov. 11.

Trained by Terri Pompay, Khozeiress will be making only his second start against stakes horses after finishing second to fellow Florida-bred Lightning Tones in the $100,000 Carry Back going seven furlongs in June at Gulfstream.

Khozeiress is a 3-year-old son of Journeyman Stud stallion Khozan out of Bridled Heiress, by Wildcat Heir and has earned $165,990 from a consistent record of four wins, two seconds and two thirds from nine career starts.

Daniel Centeno takes the riding assignment for the first time on Khozeiress and they have post two.

Others entered for the Marion County include Zydeceaux with jockey Samuel Marin, no rider has been named on The Skipper Too, Shaq Diesel will have Joe Bravo up and Jose Ferrer takes the mount on Big Martini.

Return to December 7 issue of Wire to Wire