Florida-bred Colts Earns $25,000 Florida Sire Stakes Win Bonus
BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Jockey Hector Diaz Jr. used a ground-saving trip aboard Screen Door Stables LLC’s Squints to win the $85,000 Juvenile Sprint at odds of 28-1 against six other Florida-bred 2-year-olds at Gulfstream Park Saturday. It was the first stakes victory for the son of Journeyman Stud’s leading Florida sire Khozan, who won by a length-and-three-quarters after six-and-a-half furlongs on the main track.
In addition to the winner’s share of the $60,000 purse, Squints earned a $25,000 bonus as a Florida Sire Stakes-eligible winner presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.
After breaking from post two, Squints was pinched back after the first furlong and was forced to race in sixth, about three lengths behind early leader Saint No More down the backstretch.
Saint No More took a short lead into the far turn after a quarter-mile in :22.37 as recent maiden-winner Lace Up, 7-2 second choice Big Effect and 3-5 favorite General Ledger were in close pursuit with Squints still fifth, about three lengths from the front.
As they straightened away into the run for home, Squints drew even with Saint No More, Big Effect and Lace Up and those four battled for the lead as they raced past the eighth-pole. Sound of the Beast seemed to get a short lead on the far outside before Squints found his best stride on the rail and pulled away to win in 1:17.56 on the fast track.
Sound of the Beast was a length clear of third-place finisher Big Effect with Saint No More fourth. Private Thoughts, Lace Up and General Ledger completed the order of finish.
Trained by Kelly Breen, Squints paid $58.20 to win.
“Right before they went into the gate, I was a little shocked that he was at those odds,” Breen said. “He got bothered in a previous stakes race. I thought he might be 10-1.
“He doesn’t have a lot of speed but there was a lot of speed in the race. For us to have a plan as a closer gave more options to Hector and it all worked out.”
It was the third career start for Squints, who won a state-bred maiden special weight by a head going seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Sept. 16 in his first start. He then jumped into stakes company in the $200,000 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Affirmed at seven furlongs at Gulfstream on Oct. 21, but finished seventh after an eventful trip behind winner Bentornato.
Squints earned $60,280 for the victory to push his lifetime bankroll to $94,280.
Bred in Florida by Brent and Crystal Fernung, Squints is out of the Corinthian mare Ephyra, who has produced five winners from five starters including Grade 3 Longacres Mile-winner Background. She also has Backtrack, a yearling full brother to Squints and an unnamed weanling filly by Journeyman Stud’s Uncle Chuck. She was bred to Corniche in 2023.
The Fernungs sold Squints last year through their Journeyman Bloodstock Service consignment for $50,000 to his current owners at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales October Yearling Sale.
Return to Nov. 11 issue of Wire to Wire