The race was run over the main track at 7 furlongs and, as I mentioned in the preview post Friday, I was a bit afraid that was too short for Tabby Lane. I was also afraid that the layoff may have taken the edge off her so at least I was dead wrong about that part. Kudos to the Rhone barn for keeping her sharp.
Tabby broke last and laid off most of the field, which isn’t terribly unusual for her. The early fractions set by Black Magic Moon were more than reasonable at :22.1 and :44.3 and I was optimistic that the pace was one we could close into. What I didn’t account for was the mid race move made by Holy Bling.
JJ Garcia took Holy Bling, just before the half mile mark, and shook her loose and she went running. She opened up five and then seven lengths on the field and tried to ride that all the way home. In the meantime, Dean Butler had Tabby on the move through the turn and at the top of the stretch she had moved to 6th but was fanned very wide. She changed her leads and continued to close hard down the lane, kept company by Learn the Lingo. Tabby’s rally fell 1½ lengths short of the top spot but prevailed for second by an increasing head. According to the Trakus system at Tampa, Tabby ran 33 feet further than the winner and came home with the fastest last quarter time of the field.
There was no question that at a mile Tabby had this race but after 59 days of waiting we had to go with a race that was close to what she wanted and this was it. We’ve already made the decision to ship north from Florida this coming week. The only chance we have for a race at Tampa would be on closing day, the same $16,000 claiming race over the grass that had us on the "Also Eligible" list last week and I’m not waiting around to see if we make it in. Besides, that’s only two weeks away. At least if we get to Canterbury she can train over the surface, get settled in and perhaps run down at Prairie Meadows waiting for a race here. Up north we have options; at Tampa we have only hope. I prefer the options.
Tabby came back from the race in really good shape – “better than when we went over” said her trainer, Bernell Rhone, on Sunday morning. You can’t ask for any more than that. See you soon, Canterbury!