SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Eddie F’s Racing’s Dream Central rallied wide down the lane, out finishing She’s a Mia to capture Wednesday’s $125,000 Suzie O’Cain, a 1 1/16-mile inner turf test for New York-bred sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Gary Sciacca and perfectly piloted by Jose Lezcano, the Central Banker bay entered from a 39-1 upset score when graduating in style in the NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy, a seven-furlong turf sprint on June 19 at Belmont Park.
The victory came as part of a difficult week for owner Eddie Fazzone, who recently marked the anniversary of the death of his son, Edward Fazzone III, lovingly referred to by friends and family as ‘Little Eddie’, who passed away in July 2019 at the age of 33.
Fazzone, who is the proprietor of Eddie F’s Eatery in Saratoga Springs, which also has a stand at Saratoga Race Course, said he was overwhelmed to have won his first race at Saratoga in a stakes named after his late friend, Suzie O’Cain.
“It’s a great race to win,” Fazzone said. “Suzie was a great friend and came in the restaurant all the time. It was an emotional week. My son died three years ago this week and it was his birthday on Monday, so to win this – I couldn’t be more happy than I am right now.”
Fazzone, who insisted on starting Dream Central in a stake as a maiden last out, admitted he wasn’t as confident this time around.
“I knew the race today was a little tougher than her last race, but Gary had her ready and I knew she was ready,” Fazzone said. “I was afraid of the mile and a sixteenth [and] wasn’t sure. We always knew she had a lot of talent. We tried her on the dirt and knew she was totally turf.”
Dream Central exited the outermost post 6 in the Suzie O’Cain and tracked from the back of the pack as Solib set splits of 23.93 seconds and 48.23 over the firm going with Dufresne and Lisa’s Vision chasing.
Solib led the field into the final turn and reached the top of the lane with a host of challengers cueing up, including Classic Lynne, who dove to the rail under Tyler Gaffalione, and an outside run from Dufresne in rein to Hall of Famer John Velazquez. But it was the deep-closing duo of the Joel Rosario-piloted She’s a Mia and Dream Central, who loomed most dangerous of all, rallying down the center of the course with the latter arriving in the final stride to post a head score in a final time of 1:42.34.
It was a further three-lengths back to Dufresne with Classic Lynne, Lisa’s Vision and Solib rounding out the order of finish. Main-track only entrants Galaxina, Caragate and Reigning Chick were scratched.
Lezcano said he was concerned when She’s a Mia made the first move and Dream Central stalled before switching leads late.
“When I asked her at the quarter pole and the five passed inside, she didn’t have that fast move when I asked her,” Lezcano said. “When I asked her in that last sixteenth, she took off and went on and won the race.”
Rosario said he had no excuses aboard She’s a Mia, who ran second in the open-company Tepin in November at Aqueduct Racetrack, and entered from a pair of runner-up efforts against older state-bred horses in optional-claiming tilts over the Belmont turf.
“It looked like we were home and then the other horse came with a strong run on the outside,” Rosario said. “It felt like the pace was good up front and it looked like I was the winner, but that’s how it goes sometimes. She ran well.”
The victory marked the first stakes win at Saratoga for Sciacca since Hit It Once More took the 2016 Albany. The veteran conditioner said the win meant a lot to the whole team.
“It really does and so much for Eddie here,” Sciacca said. “It’s his first win up here. He’s won a bunch at Belmont and Aqueduct, but he’s never won something here, so that was really good.”
Fazzone said Dream Central may point to the $150,000 NYSSS Statue of Liberty, a one-mile test for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies on August 18 at Saratoga.
Out of the stakes-placed Deputy Wild Cat mare Dreamed to Dream, Dream Central is a half-sister to the multiple graded-stakes placed Dreamalildreamofu. Bred in the Empire State by Fedwell Farm, Dream Central banked $68,750 in victory while improving her record to 8-2-0-1. She returned $21.40 for a $2 win bet.
Previously run as the Stillwater, the race is named in honor of Suzie O’Cain, who passed away in January following a battle with breast cancer. O’Cain and her husband, Dr. C. Lynwood O’Cain, managed the late Carl Lizza’s Highcliff Farm in Delanson, N.Y. for more than 20 years. O’Cain also served on the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Board of Directors and was co-chairwoman of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ Political Action Committee and chairwoman of the NYTB Media Committee.
Live racing continues Thursday with New York Thoroughbred Aftercare Day, a 10-race card featuring the $125,000 Rick Violette in Race 9. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the 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 Keith McCalmont
Photo by NYRA/Coglianese