By Dick Downey
Fort Loudon overcame a race-long duel with Sarava's Dancer to prevail in the Florida Stallion In Reality Stakes and sweep the Florida Stallion series.
Both colts broke alertly, and the pair led the rest of the field by multiple lengths down the backstretch as Fort Loudon conceded the lead to Sarava's Dancer while sitting just to his outside. Those two went through very slow splits of :25.02, :50.01 and 1:16.18.
Leaving the turn, it looked as if both the leaders might succumb to the oncoming field, but Fort Loudon kept on going. Ultimately, Sarava's Dancer succumbed in deep stretch, and 50-1 shot Twin got up for second.
Sarava's Dancer, Argentine Dancer, Burning Time, Kings Over and Soy Yo completed the order of finish.
Fort Loudon was timed in 1:48.29 for the 1 1/16 mile, about four-fifths of a second slower than his juvenile filly counterpart won the My Dear Girl Stakes immediately prior to the In Reality.
The 2-1 favorite, Fort Loudon paid $6.00 to win. He won $182,800 of the $300,000 purse.
Fort Loudon got on track breaking his maiden in his fourth start. He followed that win up with triumphs in the Dr. Fager and Affirmed Stakes, the first two legs of the Florida Stallion series.
The Stanley Gold trainee was ridden by Luis Jurado and was bred and is owned by Jacks or Better Farm. The owner-breeder-trainer-jockey combo also won the My Dear Girl Stakes.
Awesome Of Course, who also sired My Dear Girl winner Awesome Belle, is the father of Fort Loudon. The winner is out of Lottsa Talc, by Talc.
Stanley Gold: “I guess this is the icing on the cake. I thought he could do it. I need to ask Luis what he thought. It looked like he hesitated while he was alongside the other horse in the upper stretch before he went on and drew off. I feel so fortunate to have had these nice horses the last few years.”
Fred Brei, owner-breeder: “We’ll see how they come back, but if (Awesome Belle and Fort Loudon) come back okay, we’ll probably go (to Breeders' Cup), and Redbud Road has shown she can really scoot. They have that new sprint race for 2-year-olds, so she could possibly go, too.”
Luis Jurado: “When you have the best horse in the race, you can do anything you want to. I knew Cornelio Velasquez with Sarava’s Dancer would try to steal the race up front, and I couldn’t let them do that, so I kept my horse just a little off of him and saved some for the stretch. This horse is the real deal.”