ELMONT, N.Y. – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Dakota Gold made his seasonal debut a winning one in Sunday’s $150,000 Spectacular Bid division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong Widener turf test for eligible New York-sired 3-year-olds at Belmont Park.
Dakota Gold, who finished fifth last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf in November at Del Mar, was the heavy 1-2 favorite at post time. Despite getting a run for his money from a stubborn Surprise Boss in the stretch run, Dakota Gold was able to shake off seven months’ worth of rust, pulling away by three-quarters of a length to secure his second stakes victory in four lifetime starts.
Leaving from post 2 under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Dakota Gold angled a path wide and rated a close second to the outside of Surprise Boss, who marked the opening quarter-mile in 23.66 seconds over the firm going. With a half-mile elapsed in 48.40, Ortiz, Jr. coaxed Dakota Gold slightly and found himself on even terms with Surprise Boss in upper stretch. The two engaged in battle throughout the stretch drive with Dakota Gold gaining a slight advantage just outside the sixteenth pole. He extended his lead in the final strides to the wire, winning in a final time of 1:21.50.
Surprise Boss finished second, another 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Marinara Sauced. Rounding out the order of finish were One Time Willard, who checked approaching the far turn, Buckortwo and Barrel of Quests. Maseta and Mo Dancin were scratched.
Dakota Gold, a chestnut son of New York breeding stalwart Freud, previously captured the open-company Nownownow in September at Monmouth Park. But trainer Danny Gargan said he plans on sticking to state-bred company for now, targeting the one-mile $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway on August 17 at Saratoga Race Course.
“I was using this as a springboard to Saratoga. There’s a Stallion Series race there that we’re aiming for,” Gargan said. “It’s good to have him back. It took a while to get him back, so it’s fun to have a nice horse like this.”
Gargan said he envisioned a swifter pace upfront.
“That horse [Surprise Boss] got an easy lead and obviously we want to run further. Irad said he had a lot of horse and he was just playing with the others,” Gargan said. “I was hoping the one horse [Buckortwo] would get out at some point, but he got stuck down in there. I wanted two of them in front of us. I thought they’d go [three-quarters in] 1:09 and change. They came home in 11. I’ve only had two or three horses in my life run that fast.”
Gargan said Dakota Gold touted his talent when working in company.
“When he was a baby, no one knew he could run this well,” Gargan said. “Then I worked him on the grass in company and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’”
Despite getting tested in the stretch, Ortiz, Jr. said Dakota Gold was full of run throughout.
“He broke good and was right there. So, I sat and I waited until it was time to go. By the time I turned for home, it was time to ask him a little bit and he responded really well,” said Ortiz, Jr., who earned his seventh stakes win of the Belmont spring/summer meet. “He made the lead and stayed on. He was fighting with the other one [Surprise Boss], but I could feel he had something left. I didn’t panic and he got there. He’s a nice horse.”
The win also provided Dean and Patti Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing with their third stakes win of the meet. They previously secured victories with the Christophe Clement-trained Big Invasion [Paradise Creek on May 29] and Senbei [Gold Fever on May 15].
Dakota Gold banked $82,500 in victory, enhancing his earnings to $467,500 while returning $3.10 for a $2 win wager. His record now stands at 4-3-0-0.
Bred in the Empire State by Sequel Thoroughbreds and Ron Bowden, Dakota Gold is out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Dakota Kid, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Dakota Phone. He was bought for $83,000 from the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Fall Sale, where he was consigned by The New Hill Farm.
The NYSSS Spectacular Bid honors the 1979 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who earned championship accolades for three straight years. He was named 1978 Champion 2-Year-Old, and 1979 Champion 3-Year-Old before having an undefeated 4-year-old season in 1980 which earned him Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse honors. Initially standing at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, Spectacular Bid moved to New York in 1992, where he stood at Milfer Farm.
Live racing returns Thursday at Belmont Park with a nine-race program. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the spring/summer meet at Belmont Park on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/belmont/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont Park, and the best way to bet every race of the spring/summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
By Ryan Martin
Photo by Chelsea Durand