Positively Awesome, a 2-year-old half-brother to multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning Jackson Bend, made a positive impression while capturing his debut in Friday's fifth race at Gulfstream Park.
Jacks or Better Farm's homebred son of Awesome of Course showed the kind of grit and determination in the 4 ½-furlong sprint that helped Jackson Bend amass more than $1.8 million in earnings from 2009 to 2014.
Trained by Ralph Nicks, Positively Awesome was rated in fourth off a blazing early pace set by Cajun Casanova, who sped the first quarter of a mile in 21.18 seconds under jockey Diego Gomez. Jockey Edgard Zayas asked Positively Awesome for some run on the far turn and the Florida-bred colt gave it to him. As Cajun Casanova tired at the top of the stretch, Genghis took over the lead under Emisael Jaramillo, only to be engaged by Positively Awesome to his outside approaching the eighth pole. Positively Awesome, the even-money favorite in a field of eight juveniles, continued on to register a half-length victory.
“He broke really good but the other horse broke super sharp and was faster than him. I just let him catch a breath. If he didn't win, I wanted to give him a good experience out of the race, so I just let him sit off the pace,” Zayas said. “Little by little, I tipped him out and coming into the stretch, he kicked on really good. He was pretty impressive.”
Arindel's Genghis, a homebred son of Brethren, finished second as the 4-1 third choice, 5 ¾ lengths ahead of Cajun Casanova. Wesley Ward-trained Zanno, the 3-1 second choice, finished sixth.
Positively Awesome ran 4 ½ furlongs in 51.20 seconds to stamp himself as a serious prospect for the Florida Sire Stakes series for 2-year-olds sired by accredited stallions standing in Florida. The three-leg series, which will be contested for $1.4 million in purses, will kick off Aug. 3 with the $100,000 Dr. Fager and $100,000 Desert Vixen for fillies, both at six furlongs. The $200,000 Affirmed and the $200,000 Susan's Girl for fillies, both at seven furlongs, will follow Aug. 31. The $400,000 In Reality and the $400,000 My Dear Girl for fillies, both at 1 1/16 miles, will conclude the FSS series Sept. 28.
Jackson Bend swept the series in 2009 during a career that included Grade 1 victories in the 2011 Forego (G1) and the 2012 Carter (G1).
Positively Awesome and Jackson Bend are out of the Tabasco Cat-sired Sexy Stockings, who also produced Grande Shores, a multiple-stakes winner with earnings in excess of $650,000.
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