Sophomores Markhamian and Outfoxed futures brighten after Tampa Stakes scores – Reuters
For many Thoroughbred 3-year-old owners and trainers, January is a month when dreams can take flight.
On the day of the Skyway festival Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, the relations of a pair of Florida horses – the $125,000 Pasco Stakes winner Markhamian and the $125,000 Gasparilla Stakes winner Outfoxed – were licensed to aim even more lucrative prizes after convincing victories on the surfaced Oldsmar fast race.
Markhamian, a late May 2018 colt bred and owned by Sergio Ripamonti and trained by Juan Carlos Avila, found another deep gear to earn a 2½ length triumph from Provocateur, with favorite Cattin the winner of the December 4 Inaugural Stakes , third in the field of seven horses. Marcos Meneses rode the winner, who posted a time of 1:23.23 over 7 furlongs and paid $12.60 as the fourth betting choice.
Outfoxed was equally impressive in the Gasparilla, which featured a field of eight ambitious second-year fillies. Booked into the middle of the pack early by jockey Samy Camacho, Outfoxed staged a tenacious rally all the way through the stretch to catch December 4 Sandpiper Stakes winner Strategic Bird, with Goddess of Fire rallying to take second place, at three-quarters the length behind the winner and three-quarters better than Strategic Bird.
Outfoxed, who won a pair of Florida Thoroughbreds Breeders’ and Owners’ Association entries last year at Gulfstream by a combined 22 ¾ lengths, finished the 7 furlongs in 1:23.37. She paid $4.20 as the betting favorite. Now 3 for 4 for life, she is owned by the LNJ Foxwoods company of Larry and Nanci Roth and their daughter Jaime Roth and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.
The best news for the winners’ connections, at least on this sunny and pleasant Saturday, is that both were eligible for the $50,000 Florida Sire Stakes bonus and the $25,000 Florida-bred bonus (both offered via the FTBOA ), meaning they each won $105,000 of the total purse.
In Saturday’s third stakes, the $50,000 Wayward Lass for fillies and older mares, 7-year-old mare Nantucket Red soared to a 6-length lead down the backstretch and there was plenty left in the tank to roll back a late rally from betting favorite Allworthy by 3 lengths. Don’t Get Khozy finished third.
Olaf Hernandez rode Nantucket Red, who paid $33.60 to win after covering the 1 1/16 mile distance in 1:44.53 for his first stakes victory. Get’s daughter Stormy-Scarlett Madeleine, by Smart Strike, is owned by Colebrook Farms of Canada and trained by Michael Wright, who is 5 for 5 at Tampa Bay Downs this season.
Back at Pasco, after which Meneses, who is based in Gulfstream Park in South Florida, let out a loud cry when asked to describe his emotions. Most onlookers expected the invader to fade after Provocateur and Cattin moved around the bend home, but Meneses, who rode Markhamian in all three starts, could feel his horse starting barely rolling inside.
“That horse did everything perfectly today,” Meneses said after Col. John’s Social Inclusion-Peruvian son Jane improved to 2-for-3 with one second. “The fractions were a little fast (22.22 seconds for the first quarter mile and 44.86 for the half), but I knew I had the horse in the last yard.”
Ripamonti, who is campaigning against Markhamian under his Santa Rosa Racing Stables banner, was thrilled with the win, which could put Markhamian on track for the 3rd Year Sam F. Davis Stakes, $250,000 here on Feb. 12. the bend, but this horse has a lot of (guts),” Ripamonti said. “Marcos did a good job pressing him, and he had the heart to do it. It was a brave effort and he retired in the end.
“He was coming into the race fantastically; he was in great shape and his color and complexion were good. He was super ready,” Ripamonti said.
Avila, who knew his horse was talented entering the race, could have another like his 2020 G2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby winner King Guillermo. That’s the beauty of this time of year; We never know.
Granted, Outfoxed’s relationships were only this side of “over the moon” after beating a graded stakes placed filly in Goddess of Fire and a stakes winner in Strategic Bird. Camacho, riding Valiant Minister-Savingtime’s daughter for the first time, by Kantharos, was able to follow Mott’s pre-race instructions almost to the letter, and it paid off in a professional and convincing triumph for the winner, whose previous victory on September 25 came in the 1 1/16-mile FTBOA Florida Sire My Dear Girl Stakes at Gulfstream.
“(Mott) said she didn’t have great speed early on and had to put her in the middle of the pack early, and that’s what I did,” Camacho said. “I got her to relax, and when the other horses started moving, I did my job and she responded pretty well. I thought I had the best horse in the race and I thought she was the best over the distance.
“I feel good because every time I ride for coaches like Bill Mott it gives me more confidence. It’s a good feeling,” added Camacho, who added the 10th race on the turf with a 4-year-old Investmentstrategy filly for owner Klaravich Stables and trainer Chad Brown.
Mott, who watched the race from South Florida, thought Outfoxed might have to work harder than she had in her previous two wins. “It was a different group of horses at a different racetrack, and I thought it took her about a quarter of a mile to get her legs under her,” he said. “But she was able to prepare enough for the win and was very professional about it.
“The water is going to get deeper from now on, and I think her toughest tests are ahead of her,” said Mott, who declared the $150,000 Suncoast Stakes here on Feb. 12 at a mile and 40 meters could be an option for Outfoxed’s next start. “We want to keep the doors open in Tampa and elsewhere.”
Wayward Lass Stakes winner Nantucket Red, whose previous five starts have been on grass, had won an allocation/option claim event here on grass on Dec. 17 by a neck before Wright decided to try the dirt, with the prompting of Colebrook Farms owner John Burness.
“She went 17 lengths in her last dirt start (last March at Gulfstream), but Mr. Burness told me it was different dirt in Tampa,” Wright said. Indeed, Nantucket Red completed a half-mile crackerjack here on Dec. 31 on the main surface in 47 3/5 seconds, second fastest of 43 that day over the distance.
“It’s one for the underdog,” Wright said. “She did the half mile in (47.53 seconds), and that was it.”
Olaf Hernandez, one of the many underrated jockeys here, followed his instructions almost perfectly and was surprised the rest of the field let him take such a big lead. Although she drifted in the stretch, Nantucket Red was never threatened.
“I want to thank Mike and all the guys in his stable because they did a great job grooming this mare,” Hernandez said. “I asked her again at the quarter pole and she continued.”
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