ELMONT, N.Y. – Eddie F’s Racing’s Dream Central broke her maiden and scored her first stakes win for trainer Gary Sciacca in Sunday’s $150,000 Cupecoy’s Joy division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series for eligible state-sired sophomore fillies sprinting seven furlongs on the Widener turf at Belmont Park.
The bay Central Banker filly arrived at the Cupecoy’s Joy from an even seventh-place effort in a maiden special weight over the same distance and course on May 30 where she was bumped at the start and forced seven-wide in the turn. After making her first two starts on dirt, she finished third in her second try on the lawn on April 29 sprinting six furlongs.
“I knew she was a decent filly. She was training well,” said Eddie Fazzone, owner of Eddie F’s Racing. “We tried her on the dirt when she first came up, and she hated the dirt. She was doing really well when we brought her back. The maiden race last time, she wasn’t paying attention. She was looking around. The first time on the turf this year she ran a nice third, so we knew she’d love the grass. Seven furlongs I thought would be her best distance, too. I saw the race and said, ‘This is the race right here.’”
Sent from post 2 at odds of 39-1, Dream Central was allowed to stalk the pace in sixth under patient handling from Jose Lezcano as Royal Dancer and Shinfull vied for the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 22.36 seconds over the firm turf. Royal Dancer gained the advantage over a retreating Shinfull entering the turn through a half-mile in 45.50 as the Manny Franco-piloted Robyn and Eli swung to an outside path from six lengths back in eighth to begin her run at the leader.
Lezcano got to work aboard Dream Central as Royal Dancer confidently extended her margin to two lengths at the stretch call. Robyn and Eli quickly closed the gap with a strong run down the center of the track as Dream Central found her best stride nearing the sixteenth pole. Lezcano guided Dream Central between Robyn and Eli and a tiring Royal Dancer to find the wire just in time and stun the field of 11 by a neck in a final time of 1:21.57.
Robyn and Eli secured place honors a half-length ahead of Royal Dancer, who rounded out the trifecta 2 1/4 lengths the better of Howdyoumakeurmoney.
Shigeko, Silken Dollar, Morning Matcha, Galaxina, Shinfull, Liberty Flame and Half Birthday completed the order of finish. Bank On Anna, who was entered for the main-track only, was scratched. Shigeko was pulled up after the wire and vanned off.
Lezcano said he had plenty of horse under him even when Franco made the first move at the pacesetter with Robyn and Eli.
“My filly didn’t get out when I needed and then the other horse tried to hold me over there. He [Franco] did his job,” said Lezcano. “But my filly, when I asked her, she really responded and finished the job. She picked it up real good and the other horse was fighting back at the same time.”
Franco said Robyn and Eli gave her best effort.
“My filly ran great. We just got beat,” said Franco. “I tried to do the best I could to take his momentum, but I knew he had horse. I moved and got the jump, but he had horse – he beat me.”
Sciacca, who has seen stakes success with Eddie F’s Racing’s Chowda and Lobsta, credited Fazzone with the idea to run Dream Central in the Cupecoy’s Joy.
“Eddie really wanted to run here,” Sciacca said. “Two months ago, he picked this spot out. He wanted to run here no matter what. We had a couple of bad breaks with her. A couple of times, things didn’t go right. But she got it all together today.”
Fazzone said the Cupecoy’s Joy was on his radar because of the New York-bred and New York-sired programs.
“I love it. It’s great,” Fazzone said. “When I buy the babies, I do the Virginia certified with the New York-bred. It’s the best racing going, the horses are great. The sire stakes here are nice.”
Bred in New York by Fedwell Farms, Dream Central returned $81.50 for a $2 win wager and earned $82,500 for her winning effort. Her record now stands at 7-1-0-1 with total purse earnings of $95,917.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont with a nine-race card. First post is 3:05 p.m. Eastern.
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By Mary Eddy
Photo by Chelsea Durand