Cajun’s Magic wins the Dr. Fager Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Stonehedge LLC’s Gil and Marilyn Campbell collected their 16th success in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series Saturday when Cajun’s Magic edged stablemate Dean Delivers in the $100,000 Dr. Fager at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
“It’s quite a thrill,” said winning trainer Michael Yates. “They’ve been such a big part in the Florida breeding industry. To be a part of the team is an honor, for sure.”
The Dr. Fager, a six-furlong open-division sprint, co-headlined Saturday’s 13-race program with the $100,000 Desert Vixen, a six-furlong event for fillies won by My Sassenach, kicking off the 2021 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, a tradition-rich series for juveniles sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida.
Cajun’s Magic ($15) rallied from far off the pace to win a stretch duel with Dean Delivers by a neck to complete a Michael Yates-trained exacta in what turned out to be a two-horse race in the stretch.
“After they broke their maidens, Mrs. Campbell asked me which one I liked best. I said, ‘Personally, at this point,’ I feel like we have the exacta. I don’t know which one’s the best,” Yates said.
Saturday, Cajun’s Magic proved the better Yates trainee by a very narrow margin in the Dr. Fager. Making his third start after finishing second in his debut and breaking his maiden by 4 ¾ lengths July 1, Cajun’s Magic settled well off the pace under Jesus Rios, as Laki Lio set the pace along the backstretch, pressed by Hope in Him, the 8-5 favorite ridden by Samy Camacho, and Dean Delivers and jockey Miguel Vasquez. On the turn into the homestretch, Laki Lio and Home in Him began to falter as Dean Delivers took command and took the lead into the stretch. Cajun’s Magic launched a three-wide drive on the far turn and quickly joined his stablemate, who was the 8-5 second choice in the wagering.
Cajun’s Magic passed his stablemate in mid-stretch but was all-out to hold off a resurgent Dean Delivers approaching the wire. Gold Special rallied under Marcos Meneses to finish third, 10 lengths farther back. Home in Him checked in sixth of seven starters. Cajun’s Magic ran the six furlongs in 1:11.01.
Both Cajun’s Magic and Dean Delivers are sons of Cajun Breeze, who was owned and trained by Yates during his racing career in which he earned $246,000 the hard way while competing in allowance and stakes company in South Florida. Believing that the son of Congrats was a better horse than he showed on the racetrack, Yates took a leap of faith and stood him at stud upon his retirement in 2015. Cajun Breeze immediately proved to be a promising Florida stallion.
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“It’s pretty surreal. He’s throwing some nice horses. I think the best is yet to come from him,” Yates said. “His first couple crops, he had some pretty small numbers from some pretty ordinary mares. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell have bought half of him and have bred a decent number of mares to him. The proof’s in the pudding.”
The Florida Sire Stakes has a storied history dating back to 1982, when it was created by Ocala Breeder and owner Dan Lasater. The six-race series has produced six Eclipse Award champions: Awesome Feather (2010 Juvenile Filly), Big Drama (2010 Sprint), Holy Bull (1994 Horse of the Year and 3-Year-Old Male), Smile (1986 Sprint), Brave Raj (1986 Juvenile Filly), and Not Surprising (1995 Sprint Champion).
The Florida Sire Stakes series will continue Aug. 28 with the $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan’s Girl for fillies, both slated for seven furlongs, and Sept. 25 with the $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies, both to be run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles.
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