BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Arindel homebred Reaper will take the only stakes-winning credentials into Saturday’s $65,000 Proud Man at Gulfstream Park but it appears the Florida-bred colt will have no easy task. Nearly all of the other seven contenders in the six-furlong test for 2-year-olds were impressive in winning maiden special weight races in their last start including Divieto and Florida-breds Big Effect, Gentle Breeze and Northshore Drive.
Seven of the eight juveniles in the Proud Man are Florida-breds who will be vying for a $25,000 win bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association. Divieto was bred in Kentucky and is not eligible for the bonus.
The Proud Man acts as a preview for the $1.2 million FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes for nominated 2-year-olds by registered Florida stallions. The six-race series begins Sept. 9 at Gulfstream with the Desert Vixen for fillies and the open Dr. Fager, each at six furlongs and offering $100,000.
Reaper will be making his fourth career start in the Proud Man after winning the $105,000 Prairie Gold Juvenile by a neck going five-and-a-half furlongs at Prairie Meadows on July 8. The bay colt has won two of three races including a nearly six-length triumph against special weight maidens going four-and-a-half furlongs at Gulfstream on April 21. His only loss came when ninth after a slow start going five furlongs on the turf in the $100,000 Royal Palm won by No Nay Mets (Ire) at Gulfstream in May.
Reaper is by Arindel’s Brethren out of Horah for Bailey, by Doneraile Court and he has earned $104,000. He is a full-brother to last year’s Juvenile Sprint-winner Turbo, stakes-placed Awesome Mass and Nacho Mama, who holds the four-and-a-half-furlong track record at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Juan Alvarado has given the riding assignment on Reaper to Hector Diaz and they will break from post four.
Divieto will start from Reaper’s immediate right in post five with jockey Miguel Vazquez aboard.
Trained by Antonio Sano for Magic Stables LLC, Cairoli Racing Stable and Midnight Racing LLC, Divieto won his first start by four-and-a-half lengths going six furlongs at Gulfstream on July 21.
His 74 Beyer Speed Figured earned that day is at least nine points higher than the numbers achieved by any of his Proud Man rivals.
By Dialed In out of the stakes-winning mare Exaggerated, by Blame, the dark bay or brown colt was a $110,000 purchased by Sano as a yearling out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the Keeneland September Sale.
Big Effect hails from the barn of trainer Edward Plesa Jr. and comes into the Proud Man after winning a maiden special weight against state-breds by six-and-three-quarters lengths going six furlongs on July 22. That was his second career start finishing second in the slop in his debut going five furlongs under the same conditions at Gulfstream on July 1.
Owners Leon Ellman, Glassman Racing LLC and Laurie Plesa purchased Big Effect for $160,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale out of the Ocala Stud consignment. He is by Ocala Stud stallion The Big Beast out of Holiday Flare, by Harlan’s Holiday and has earned $49,800 in his two starts. Big Effect is a half-brother to multiple stakes-placed Restofthestory, an earner of $307,043 who is also trained by Plesa and owned by Glassman Racing LLC.
Big Effect will start just to the outside of Divieto in post six and Edgar Perez will ride.
Jacks or Better Farm Inc.’s homebred Northshore Drive defeated special weight maidens by a neck in his last start over a sloppy five-and-a-half furlongs on July 17. The Ralph Nicks trainee makes his second start against stakes company having finished fifth in the Royal Palm Juvenile after being bumped at the start and was third behind Reaper in the aforementioned maiden special weight on April 21.
Northshore Drive is by Fort Loudon out of Proof Inthe Puddin, by Elusive Bluff and the chestnut colt sports a $57,200 bankroll in his three starts.
He has drawn post one and Edwin Gonzalez will ride.
Nicks will also saddle Gentle Breeze for the Proud Man for owner and breeder Stonehedge LLC. The chestnut colt was a 12 ½-length winner after leading from the start against $25,000 maiden claimers going five furlongs over a sloppy track at Gulfstream on June 25.
Gentle Breeze has the meet’s leading rider in Leonel Reyes and they will depart from post two.
Gentle Breeze is by Stonehedge Farm South stallion Cajun Breeze out of Humorous Song, by Jimmy Creed and he earned $18,850 in his lone start.
The remaining Proud Man contenders include Bentornato with jockey Emisael Jaramillo, Prevent with Luca Panici named to ride and Jesus Rios rides Keep On Coming.