R Harper Rose, Fiona’s Magic, Chi Chi Split $20,000 FTBOA Florida-bred Bonus Money


Florida-bred R Harper Rose made an easy task of winning the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3 with a two-length victory ahead of fellow Florida-breds Fiona’s Magic in second and third-place finisher Chi Chi.

R Harper Rose banked $86,725 in winning the seven-furlong test against five other 3-year-old fillies, including the winner’s share of the $125,000 purse and a $10,000 Florida-bred bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

Fiona’s Magic earned $30,750, including $6,000 in Florida-bred bonus money while Chi Chi took down $16,375, including $4,000 in FTBOA Florida-bred cash.

Jockey Edgard Zayas had R Harper Rose sharp out of post three and went immediately to the front before being challenged on the inside by Fiona’s Magic and Tyler Gaffalione. Fiona’s Magic maintained a half-length advantage on R Harper Rose down the backstretch as they finished the first two furlongs in :22.63 with Witwatersrand third and Chi Chi fourth in the compact field.

Fiona’s Magic led the fillies around the far turn with R Harper Rose applying pressure to her outside. 9-5 favorite Scalable momentarily took third in the three-path. Zayas sent R Harper Rose to the front at the top of the stretch and she was never seriously challenged by Fiona’s Magic in second as Chi Chi resumed the third spot.

R Harper Rose finished in 1:24.34 on the fast track and paid $6.40 to win.

“I just let her break out of there natural and see where she was sitting,” Zayas said. “I had a great post position where the speed was on the inside, so there was no rush to take the lead.

“I think, sprinting, she can go against any filly. She’s really fast out of there. She could have been on the lead if I let her go.”

Trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. agreed while revealing that he will likely keep R Harper Rose in one-turn races.

“She’s so fast but she can settle, and go back to doing what she wants to do—going one turn,” Joseph said.

“I’m just proud of her today. Everything went right into this race and she showed it today. Edgar [Zayas] was very patient. They broke well, [Fiona’s Magic] wanted the lead and he didn’t force the issue. I think the first three-eighths of the race it worked to our advantage. It wasn’t a crazy pace.

“This is it for her, one turn. We’re not going to experiment. Last time things didn’t go right but we’re going to keep her to one turn. There’s a lot of races for her at one turn.”

Scalable finished fourth with Nikitis and Witwatersrand completing the order of finish.

It was the fourth win in five starts for R Harper Rose, whose only loss came when second to Honey Dijon in the $300,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes My Dear Girl in her previous race on Dec. 2.

R Harper Rose broke her maiden by six-and-a-quarter lengths in August then won a non-winners of two, $75,000 optional claiming in September. She then dominated the $200,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Susan’s Girl in October, winning by four lengths.

The Forward Gal is her first graded stakes victory.

R Harper Rose increased her earnings to $344,025 from her five career starts for owners Rich Averill and Jayson Werth, both of Bradenton, Fla. Averill races in the name of his Averill Racing LLC while Two Eight Racing LLC is the nom du cours for Werth.

Averill purchased R Harper Rose for $60,000 out of the 2023 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale where she was consigned by GOP Racing Stable. She also sold as a yearling to Pro Racing Stable at the 2022 OBS October Yearling Sale where she was consigned by Richard Kent.

Bred in Florida by the late Sally J. Andersen, R Harper Rose is by Journeyman Stud’s leading Florida sire Khozan out of True Bliss, by Yes It’s True. True Bliss has four winners from six starters and an unnamed yearling filly by Leinster, who stands at Pleasant Acres Stallions. R Harper Rose is her only stakes winner.

The Forward Gal also presented a sweep for Journeyman Stud stallions as Fiona’s Magic is from the first crop by their St Patrick’s Day.

R Harper Rose is the 15th Florida-bred winner of the Forward Gal and the first since Pomeroy’s Pistol in 2011. Other Florida-bred Forward Gal winners are Frolic’s Dream (2009), Bsharpsonata (2008), Madcap Escapade (2004), Miss Inquistive (2000), Glitter Woman (1997), Mindy Gayle (1996), Chaposa Springs (1995), Spinning Round (1992), Charon (1990), On To Royalty (1988), Added Elegance (1987), Noranc (1986), and All Matters (1982).