Dreamfyre Tries Two Turns & Turf For The First Time And Prevails By A Neck To Win Grade III, $200,000 Surfer Girl Stakes
DREAMFYRE TRIES TWO TURNS & TURF FOR THE FIRST TIME AND PREVAILS BY A NECK TO WIN GRADE III, $200,000 SURFER GIRL, GETTING MILE ON TURF IN 1:37.11
WINNER SURVIVES STEWARDS INQUIRY INTO BUMPING IN STRETCH RUN
ARCADIA, CA (Oct. 8, 2023)—Based for many years at Golden Gate Fields, trainer O.J. Jauregui is truly living the dream with his unbeaten filly Dreamfyre, who tried a new game in Sunday’s Grade III, $200,000 Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita and emerged victorious, finishing first by a neck and then surviving a stewards inquiry into the stretch run. A winner of two sprint stakes on dirt, Dreamfyre tried turf and a route of ground today and was extra game under Hector Berrios, getting one mile on grass in gate to wire fashion in 1:37.11.
Sent to the front, Dreamfyre came under major pressure leaving the quarter pole as both eventual runner-up Buttercream Babe and highly regarded Soho drew alongside, but Dreamfyre was extra game, repelling both challenges as she engaged in a taut, head and battle to the wire with Buttercream Babe that included some bumping inside the furlong pole.
“There was a little bit of contact, but I always stayed in my lane,” said Berrios. “The other horse came very close on my outside and I think that was all that happened. They were just coming close together, I didn’t think that interfered with the result.”
Testimony from Berrios aside, the Board of Stewards, in a unanimous ruling, held that while the winner did drift out and make contact with Buttercream Babe, in their judgment, the contact did not merit a disqualification.
An ungraded stakes winner July 9 at Pleasanton, Dreamfyre was most recently a 3 ½ length winner going six furlongs of the Grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar and was off today as the 9-5 favorite in a field of nine juvenile fillies, returning $5.80, $4.20 and $3.20.
Owned by Dan Eplin, Dreamfyre, a filly by the Scat Daddy stallion Flameaway out of the Sky Mesa mare Appreciating, sold for $140,000 at an Ocala, FLA 2-year-old in training sale this past April. With today’s winner’s share of $120,000, she increased her earnings to $285,000.
“The question was going to be the distance, as fast as she is,” said Jauregui. “She is very ratable, she let me do whatever I wanted in the mornings, so I knew there was a chance. Even though you work them, you think they could do it, but in a race, it is different.
“But she ran big and I’m glad she did. She should get a lot out of this and maybe after this race he could go a little further. That was the question, the distance and turf. The sire was a turf horse so I knew we had a shot. If she looks great, we will go and the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita) a shot.”
Trained by Mike Maker, Buttercream Babe shipped in from Kentucky and ran huge in defeat under Ramon Vazquez, who also lodged a rider’s claim of foul. Off at 5-1, she finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Flattery and paid $6.00 and $4.00.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Flattery, unbeaten in two previous tries at one mile on turf, was off at 4-1 and paid $3.00 to show while finishing three quarters of a length in front of Where’s My Ring.
Fractions on the race were 23.55, 48.59, 1:13.91 and 1:25.39.
Racing resumes with first post time for nine-race holiday program on Monday at 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.