Getting out to the front early before the clubhouse turn paid dividends for Our Athletes sophomore Lab Cat, as he would take the mile and a sixteenth affair leading throughout this event, holding off the likes of Insist Always with a head bob at the wire.
- The Equistaff – Purse $110.000
- Tampa Bay Downs- For Three Year olds
- One mile and one sixteenth in distance- Turf track
With the gate positioned in the inner chute here at Tampa Bay Downs, it would take long for Lab Cat to get out onto the turf oval and get the lead away from inside runner Encore ( Keikowin Racing ) and make his way down to the rail entering the clubhouse turn. As the field made its way onto the backstretch, Encore would now relinquish second place to Mb Stables Insist Always, who the betting public made the even money favorite with the likes of Centeno in the irons. Jockey J C Ferrer was fully focused on the task at hand with Lab Cat, keeping him in full stride with the opening half mile going in 46.98. As the field entered the far turn of the race, Lab Cat and Insist Always had mounted a two length distance ahead of Encore who had managed to stay ahead of a wall of horses behind him. Coming off the turn for home and with just a furlong to run, you could notice the early efforts were starting to take it toll on Lab Cat. Insist Always had now closed to within a quarter of a length of the front runner, but it was like you could see Lab Cat look to his outside, find a little more in his heart, and dig just a little deeper as if to say ” Not today my friend!”
In talks with jockey Ferrer following the race he stated “ I thought we were done at the sixteenth pole coming home, but this horse just wasn’t giving up as I ask for more and he responded.” “It was an absolutely amazing ride!” It was the riders only stakes win here on the day after just missing for the win in the earlier Sprint.
For trainer Our Athletes, this is stakes victory number three of the season after capturing the Silverbulletday Stakes and the Gr. III FG Stakes earlier in the year. While Lab Cat is no La Terrifiant, he seems to be maturing into a fine example of a future turf champion.
For Insist Always, he ran a brilliant race with this effort and was very close to stealing the show, but his competitor was not going away quietly in this event and he would have to except the place purse. While his rider won an allowance company event with him leading up to this event, the only thing coming between him and a victory, was the heart of Lab Cat.
Getting into the mix and staying just off the two front runners, Encore definitely never faded in this event, and he even made up ground down the stretch to close to within a length. Four of his last five starts have seen him finish in the top three spots, and he definitely deserved more respect then the 29-1 odds at the ticket windows. He should be cashing a few more checks this season as well.
|Race #9 15:05 The Equistaff|
1 1/16 Mile Turf Stake Purse $110.00 Open 3 Year Olds.
|##||Horse Name||Owner Name||Jockey||Odds||Fin||Time||SRF|
|5||Lab Cat||Our Athletes||Ferrer J C||12.10||1hd||1:40.00|
|4||Insist Always||Mb Stables||Centeno D E||1.05||23/4||1:40.04|
|3||Encore||Keikowin Racing||Suarez A||29.75||31/2||1:40.20|
|2||Dream Vision||John Henry||Morales P||2.55||41||1:40.30|
|6||Kowloon City||Nakamura Stables||Gallardo A A||5.45||53/4||1:40.51|
|7||Valyrian Station||Gdp Inc||Boulanger G||54.40||65||1:40.67|
|1||Few Survivors||Fractious||Camacho Sa||6.35||7||1:41.73|
Time: :233 :464 1:10 1:40
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 5 – 4 Paid 31.80
$1 Trifecta: 5 – 4 – 3 Paid 818.50