March 24, 1979 – Ron Franklin Bounces Back in Flamingo

Six other horses dared to challenge Spectacular Bid in the Flamingo Stakes, and some trainers admitted they were running for the $29,800 check for second place. The morning of the race was hot and humid, with a little rain in the forecast. Bid’s jockey, Ron Franklin, was nervous, his first ride since the disastrous Florida Derby 18 days earlier.

Bid broke out of the gate loafing, passed the clubhouse turn four wide, and was running third after a quarter of a mile. On the backstretch, Franklin chirped into the big horse’s ear, “Let’s go, Big Daddy,” and as if he understood the words, the colt accelerated, flew past Gallant Serenade without urging, and overtook Native Sir, inching his way to a half-length lead at the half-mile mark.

Exploding into his second gear, he stretched the lead to eight lengths after three-quarters of a mile. Jockey Jerry Bailey, aboard Need More Time, said that Franklin “never even moved . . . [Bid] just opened up four or five lengths. Effortless.”

In the homestretch, Franklin hit Bid six times, and the colt responded even more; the final margin was twelve lengths, the rest of the pack gamely following Bid in the cuppy sand of Hialeah Park. The time for the 1 1/8 mile race was an unremarkable 1:48 2/5 and two seconds off the stakes record set by Honest Pleasure in 1976.

But trainer Bud Delp was unconcerned about the time. Bid became only the 12th horse to win both the Florida Derby and the Flamingo Stakes since the Florida Derby began in 1952.