Photo Credit: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos
There were two defining moments in Tabby Lane’s race yesterday that had me on the edge of my seat. The first was as the field was moving down the backside and approaching the turn when I saw Luis Gonzales stand up pretty high in the irons. Tabs was running well and was starting to run up on the horse in front of her as she was settled in sixth place. This was nearly the same exact spot in her last race where she ranged up on the outside and then quit running. I held my breath to see how she was going to handle it. She gathered herself under her new jockey and started to move again. I exhaled and my hope meter started maxing out as the field moved through the turn.
The second moment was as she moved through that turn. She started to pick up steam, moved into fourth and looked like she was moving well enough to win. She ducked down inside and it was all over but my considerable shouting. It seemed like forever until track announcer Richard Grunder – in a very surprised voice – let the world know that it was Tabby Lane that was moving ‘much the best’ through the lane and leading the field to the wire.
Admittedly I was crazy. I may have been more excited for this win at the bottom level at Tampa than I was when she bounced right back and won her first for us, a $16,000 optional claimer over a year ago. She has had her share of trials and tribulations throughout that period and we were wondering if she was ever going to win again. All the credit in the world has to go to Bernell Rhone and his team back at the barn that changed up her routine and equipment until they found something that clicked for her. I’m grateful for the patience that he has shown with her and the time and effort made to get it right. I’m also grateful for wonderful partners who have hung in there and offered up suggestions and support – both were appreciated and used to get the result yesterday. Finally, thanks to Luis Gonzales who gave her a great ride.
I’m not losing sight of the fact that this was a bottom level claiming race, but you have to start a comeback somewhere. We’ll learn in the next month or two whether this win was a turning point or just a happy accident.