We knew going in that Tabby Lane was going to have her hands full with the top two choices in the $16,000 optional claiming race yesterday at Canterbury Park. Monslewn, the eventual winner, had reeled off three consecutive wins at higher levels than this and the returning Avenue Sister spent her 2010 campaign running only as low as $25,000 claiming and was training well for her return. Tabby seemed to be returning to her early 2010 form when she beat both a group like this and finished 2nd in a $25,000 optional claimer at Tampa before shipping north. She had beat a field of $10,000 claimers without being flat out to win so she earned her shot.
The reality is that she earned her shot at a straight $16,000 claiming race. The “non-winners of two races lifetime other than maiden, claiming or starter” condition drew in both top horses without fear of the claiming tag. In fact, none of the six horses that made the starting gate where in for a tag setting up what was in reality a second level allowance race.
Tabby got off well and trailed the field early – not entirely unexpected by her given her come from behind running style. Dean Butler maintained contact with the field down the back side and as the field bent into the turn started making a move on the inside. About halfway through the turn Jody’s Included, near the pace for most of the race, had had enough and started backing up along the rail. Tabby came right up on her – Dean said after the race he heard the hooves click each other – and had to check up and angle out for room. At that point all hope was lost. I don’t think that we could have reached the front, but we certainly would have hit the board. With all momentum sapped, however, the best we could hope for was a safe return and fourth place money.
Tabby came back from the race fine for the most part. She’ll take some time off and we’ll figure out our next move. I’d like to try her in a $16,000 claiming race – no optional conditions – but we don’t run that here at Canterbury. Of course if the government doesn’t get its act together soon, that may not matter. But more on that later this week.