Be My Sunshine Scores First Stakes Win in $125K Tropical Park Oaks

December 23, 2023

Be My Sunshine springs an upset in the Tropical Park Oaks (Coglianese)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Ken Ramsey homebred Be My Sunshine, three weeks removed from a win over her elders at the same course and distance, got a heady ride from jockey Edgard Zayas in her return to spring an 8-1 upset of Saturday’s $125,000 Tropical Park Oaks at Gulfstream Park.

The 29th running of the 1 1/16-mile Tropical Park Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf was the first of four $125,000 stakes on an 11-race program, followed by the seven-furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) for 3-year-olds and up and six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) for fillies and mares 3 and older, both on the main track, and 1 1/16-mile Tropical Park Derby for 3-year-olds, also on the grass.

Trained by two-time defending Championship Meet titlist Saffie Joseph Jr., Be My Sunshine ($19.40) completed the distance in 1:39.94 over the firm going for her third win in four tries over the Gulfstream turf, and first in a stakes.

“Today she needed to step up and improve, and she did that,” Joseph said. “What a ride by Edgard. He was able to save all the ground, got the slip at the head of the lane and that was the difference between winning and losing – his ride.”

Back in against her own age group for the first time since the summer, Be My Sunshine broke from Post 11 of 12 and settled in fourth under Zayas, racing between Grade 2-placed Dolce Sopresa to her inside and Grade 3-placed Startup Mentality as 90-1 long shot Speed Trap led through a quarter-mile in 22.81 seconds and a half in 47.22.

Speed Trap was still in front after six furlongs in 1:11.19 when Zayas gave Be My Sunshine her cue, ducking her down inside and splitting Speed Trap to her outside and Dolce Sopresa on the rail. Be My Sunshine surged through the opening and got a jump on late-running Grade 3-placed Breath Away and Alpha Bella to hold them off and win by a head.

“My only worry [was] I didn’t want to rush her up. I just wanted to get her out of there fast enough so that I could cross over and get a good position,” Zayas said. “It worked out good. She helped me a lot the whole way. We found a hole on the rail and kicked in and held on.”

Breath Away edged Alpha Bella for second, with Grade 3 winner Cairo Consort fourth and 35-1 long shot Sun Bee fifth.

Unraced at 2, Be My Sunshine debuted with a win sprinting 7 ½ furlongs Jan. 8 on the Gulfstream turf, where she ran second next time out going 1 1/16 miles March 12. After running sixth in the Selene (G3) on Woodbine’s all-weather surface July 1 she had faced older horses in each of her next three starts.

Zayas and Joseph have established a winning connection in recent years, connecting at 26 percent at Gulfstream and 25 percent overall in 2022-23.

“I ride [Zayas] a lot, I’m hard on him, and today he won the race. If he doesn’t give her that ride, she probably doesn’t win,” Joseph said. “He obviously had the horse, she did her job, too, but he was a big part of it.”

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