Yates Hoping to Honor Campbell’s Memory in $400K In Reality

September 23, 2021

Cajun’s Magic Carries Late Owner’s Colors in FSS Finale 

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Michael Yates can’t think of a more fitting way to honor the memory of Gil Campbell than to saddle Cajun’s Magic for a victory in Saturday’s $400,000 In Reality at Gulfstream Park.

“We’d love to win it in his honor, that’s for sure,” Yates said.

Campbell, the prominent Florida breeder/owner who passed away Sept. 16 at the age of 91, and his widow, Marilyn, have had a long, long history of success in the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes, having been represented by 16 race winners in the lucrative series for juveniles sired by accredited Florida stallions. 

Cajun’s Magic, a homebred son of Cajun Breeze who campaigns for the Campbells’ Stonehedge LLC racing stable, kicked off the 2021 FSS series with a victory over Dean Delivers, his Stonehedge LLC stablemate, in the $100,000 Dr. Fager at Gulfstream July 31 to give his highly respected and influential owners/breeders No. 16.

“He’s gutsy; he’s a trier; he’s a game horse,” Yates said. “He’s a very nice, solid horse.”

Cajun’s Magic showed grit in his May 29 debut, in which he vied for pacesetting honors while racing between horses and fought back after losing the lead to finish just a half-length behind heavily favored Of a Revolution at five furlongs. He came right back to graduate by 4 ¾ lengths at 5 ½ furlongs before capturing the six-furlong Dr. Fager, in which he rated early before challenging Dean Delivers and prevailing from a stretch-long battle to win by a neck.

In the $200,000 Affirmed, the seven-furlong second leg of the FSS series, Cajun’s Magic made a three-wide drive into contention but had to settle for a second-place finish, 3 ¼ lengths behind pacesetter Octane.

Cajun’s Magic will face the two-turn test Saturday in the 1 1/16-mile In Reality, which will co-headline Saturday’s Gulfstream Park program with the $400,000 My Dear Girl, the 1 1/16-mile FSS finale for fillies.

“It’s a question for all of them. None of them have run that far yet,” Yates said. “He’s been training well. He’s had some nice, long, swift gallops, and I think he’ll be ready.”

Jesus Rios has the call aboard Cajun’s Magic, who will try to turn the tables on Arindel’s homebred Octane.

The Affirmed victor will seek his third straight victory following a second-place finish in his June 14 debut at five furlongs. The son of Brethren overcame adversity to graduate in his second start at Gulfstream July 17, when he became fractious and unseated his rider before loading into the starting gate but went on to win by 1 ¾ lengths despite being checked leaving the backstretch. The Carlos David-trained Florida-bred did everything right in the Affirmed, in which he broke alertly from his rail post position to lead the way throughout the seven-furlong sprint.

“He came out of that race in really good shape,” David said. “He had to run his eyeballs out in that race. I gave him four days of walking. He’s been able to have two breezes with no problems. So far, so good.”

Octane is expected to once again be a forward factor as he attempts to carry his speed around two turns in the In Reality.

“It will definitely be a challenge. It’s his first time around two turns. So far, he has done everything right. I know he has tactical speed. We’re not going to take that away from him,” David said.

Emisael Jaramillo has the return mount aboard Octane.

Arindel has also entered homebreds The Skipper Too, Clapton and Globes, all Juan Alvarado-trained sons of Brethren, in the In Reality. The Skipper Too graduated in his fifth career start Aug. 22, drawing clear by 1 ½ lengths after a stumbling start. Clapton followed up his second-start maiden victory with an eighth-place finish in the Affirmed, in which he stumbled at the start. Globes is a maiden who finished third in both of his starts.

Cristian Torres has been named on The Skipper Too; Chantal Sutherland has the call on Clapton; and Marcos Meneses is scheduled to ride Globes.

Alex and JoAnn Liebling’s Big and Classy, who improved on a fifth-place Dr. Fager showing to finish third in the Affirmed, will seek further improvement in the In Reality. The David Fawkes-trained son of The Big Beast, who raced evenly while finishing three lengths behind runner-up Cajun’s Magic in the Affirmed, graduated by 5 ¾ lengths in his second career start.

“He worked in company with Noble Drama the other day and did excellent,” said Fawkes, who will also saddle multiple-stakes winner Noble Drama for Saturday’s $125,000 FSS Wildcat Heir. “I was happy with his last race. Samy Camacho is riding him back this time, and I think he’s got a huge chance.”

Big and Classy will make Camacho earn his mount fee.

“He doesn’t want to sprint, No. 1, and No. 2, he’s one of those kinds of horses you have to stay busy on. He’ll relax under you too much. He’s not the kind of horse that’s going to take you unless you ask him, but he’ll give you all he’s got if you ask him.”

William Heiligbrodt, Corrine Heiligbrodt and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Cattin, a son of Neolithic trained by Ralph Nicks, and Amalio Ruiz-Lozano’s Gold Special, a son of Jess’s Dream trained by Angel Rodriguez, return in the In Reality after finishing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Affirmed.

Edgard Zayas has the call on Cattin, while Jonathan Gonzales will be aboard Gold Special.

Our Sugar Bear Stable Inc.’s One More Score and Champion Equine LLC’s Fivefive Six Champ round out the field.

Gulfstream Park Press Release

Photo: Cajuns Magic in the FSS Dr. Fager, (Lauren King)

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