BY BROCK SHERIDAN
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL—A few hours after owner Brad Grady and partner David Grund saw their Seminole Chief upset the $300,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes In Reality at Gulfstream Park Saturday, his Honey Dijon defeated 3-5 favorite R Harper Rose to win the $300,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes My Dear Girl on the same course. Both Seminole Chief and Honey Dijon are by Grady’s stallion Girvin and both were bred in Florida by Grady with his wife Misty Grady.
Jockey Paco Lopez also pulled off the Florida Sire Stakes double aboard Seminole Chief and Honey Dijon.
Trained by Joe Sharp, Honey Dijon ran down the frontrunning R Harper Rose to win the mile-and-a-sixteenth third leg of the filly division of the Florida Sire Stakes, besting six other 2-year-old fillies by registered Florida stallions.
As expected R Harper Rose went right to the front from post five and led by a length-and-a-half ahead of Fields of Green in second with Honey Dijon patiently stalking in third through the first half-mile in :46.78.
Around the far turn, R Harper Rose continued to show the way by length-and-a-quarter as Honey Dijon took second from a tiring Fields of Green. Honey Dijon and R Harper Rose came out of the turn in tandem but Honey Dijon quickly got the advantage and eventually finished up in 1:45.60 on the fast track. R Harper Rose was two-and-three-quarter lengths behind in second with Haunted more than seven lengths farther back in third. Reina Mar, Fields of Green, Unrelentless, Pardy Pleaser and Dancing N Dixie completed the order of finish.
Honey Dijon paid $8 to win.
“I was really happy to see her be able to stretch out like that. It looks like she’s an improving filly,” Sharp, who watched Honey Dijon’s triumph from Fair Grounds, said. “This opens up a whole new door for us. We’re going to give her a little freshening for her 3-year-old campaign.”
Honey Dijon evened the score with R Harper Rose, after finishing second, four lengths behind the Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained filly in the $200,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Susan’s Girl going seven furlongs on Oct. 21. Despite the loss Saturday, Joseph had no excuses for his previously unbeaten filly.
“We got beat. [R Harper Rose] ran her race and just got beat. That’s all you can say,” Joseph said. “She got beat fair and square, no excuses. We’ll give her a little break and then backtrack with her.”
Honey Dijon improved her record to two wins in five starts with one second and earnings of $284,450. Her first victory came in her second start in a five-and-a-half-furlong maiden special weight for fillies taken off the turf at Saratoga on Aug. 10. She then finished sixth, but beaten less than three lengths in the $499,000 Pepsi Untappable on the undulating turf course at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 13 before returning to Florida for the Susan’s Girl.
Honey Dijon is out of Empire Maker mare Archangelus, who has two winners from four starters and six foals. Honey Dijon is her first black type performer and Archangelus was bred back to Girvin in 2023.
Florida Sire Stakes Notes: Only two other stallions have sired the winners of the My Dear Girl and In Reality in the same year. In 1994, Fortunate Prospect sired My Dear Girl-winner Fortune Pending and In Reality-winner Sea Emperor. In 2011, Awesome of Course sired My Dear Girl-winner Awesome Belle and In Reality-winner Fort Loudon.
Only once before Brad Grady this year have the winners of the My Dear Girl and In Reality been owned and bred by the same entity in the same year. In 2009, Fred Brei’s Jacks or Better Farm owned and bred My Dear Girl-winner Awesome Feather and In Reality-winner Jackson Bend.
Total Handle at Gulfstream Park Saturday was $10,654,273, a record for My Dear Girl/In Reality day since the Florida Sire Stakes was moved to Gulfstream Park in 2014 and eclipsing the $9,852,148 handle on My Dear Girl/In Reality day on Sept. 29, 2018. The record for any Florida Sire Stakes day at Gulfstream Park is $11,834,119 on Susan’s Girl/Affirmed day on Aug. 29, 2020.
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