Saturday, February 20, 2010
Welcome Tabby Lane
The first group of 2010 is in action thanks to the claim of Tabby Lane (Even the Score - Keeley Chay - Rodeo), seen above winning the $10,000 claiming race we got her out of on Thursday at Tampa Bay Downs.
(note: I already asked fellow Blogger Teresa Genaro if she'll qualify for a kitty bet. If you don;t know what I'm talking about, check out her Brooklyn Backstretch blog and find out!)
She was an interesting choice. Though at four years old and 12 races under her belt, pedigree probably doesn't matter much, if you look back there are some very interesting names in her past: Rahy, Now Your Teapottin, Unbridled's Song, Unbridled, Mr. Prospector, Raise a Native and even Alydar, Round Table and Secretariat. That's not what instigated the claim, however interesting though the after the fact discovery may be. When trainer Bernell Rhone called me to see if I was interested, I was intrigued by her last few starts and the company she kept earlier in her career.
A Kentucky bred, she none the less started her career in Florida at Gulfstream after being purchased for $30,000 as a yearling. She was jostled a bit in that first start as she gained experience while finishing a distant 5th in a $50,000 Maiden Claiming race. She bounced back in her next start and just couldn't last at the same level missing just by a neck. Then came a change in venue as she headed north of the border where she ran three times at Woodbine: twice with Maiden Special Weights and then in a Maiden $32,000 finishing in the money twice. The lone disappointment came when she tried to go two turns.
After the Canada experience came a change in barn as well as a change in venue. She left the stable of Gregory DeGannes and moved to the stable of Jason Servis as well as to New Jersey where, in her first effort for the new barn, she finished a game 2nd in a Maiden $50,000. That performance encouraged Servis to enter her next out in a Maiden Special back at Monmouth where she finished 4th over a muddy track. Racing moved to the Meadowlands and after being dropped through a $20,000 Maiden Claiming and then into a $10,000 Maiden Claiming, she broke her maiden in a romp, winning by 7 over a sloppy surface and earning a career best 77 Beyer in the process.
Taking on winners for the first time she was asked to go a mile and try the soft turf course for the first time. She steadily made up ground throughout the race, but finished 4th, though only beaten by 2 lengths in the $20,000 claiming race.
In January she moved south to Tampa and dropped in to take on $16,000 claiming horses that had never won two races other than maiden. She won drawing off back at six furlongs. She added a half furlong for her race on Thursday but was dropping into a $10,000 claiming race for horses that had never won three races other than maiden. This raised a bit of a red flag for me. Why in the world would you take a filly that romped over $16,000 claimers and drop her in with a $10,000 group unless she was hurting?
There were two possible explanations: Servis and the owners were looking to cut bait with a horse they didn't think could make it back up north at the level they wanted to race at or sometimes a NW3 at a lower level is tougher than a NW2 at a higher level. Both explanations were possible, the proof would be in the race and her walk over to the paddock.
As I was driving through Iowa, Bernell called and said she looked good on the walk over and that she appeared to be clean. They had front wraps on her which can sometimes be used to discourage a claim. Sometimes it indicates that there is a problem. Her action was good and her overall appearance was excellent so we forged ahead. She didn't race with the front wraps and won like the 1-5 shot that she was. While we may have lost the NW3 condition, we were very encouraged with the way she won with ease and appeared to come back from the race.
She'll have a few days rest and relaxation and then she'll get the once over to see how she's recovered. We look to have her back in a race in March. It sure is nice to be back!