Tom Cooley Photography
By Ron Mitchell, @BH_RMitchell
Making her first start outside her native Brazil, Stud TNT's Old Tune showed an affinity for her new surroundings when she won the $150,000 Endeavor Stakes (gr. IIIT) in course record time at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 2.
Ridden by Joel Rosario for trainer Todd Pletcher, the 5-year-old mare dueled with 13-1 shot Awesome Belle early as those two alternated for the lead through a quarter in :23.17 and a half-mile in :46.57 in the 1 1/16-mile turf test for older fillies and mares. Old Tune finally shook clear of Awesome Belle nearing the far turn after six furlongs had been completed in 1:10.13 and continued to lead to the wire, defeating Appealing Cat by 1 3/4 lengths. After completing the mile in 1:33.39, Old Tune hit the wire in final time of 1:39.30 was a new course record for the distance over the grass at Tampa Bay.
Old Tune, topweighted in the 12-horse field, paid $8.20, $5.20, and $5.20. Appealing Cat, sent off at 26-1 odds, paid $18.60 and $11.80. Last Full Measure was third, paying $7.20. The top two combined for a $178.60 exacta and the trifecta paid $2,550.80. The rest of the field was completed by Hooh Why, Blue Heart, Sweet Little Lion, Exclusive Love, My Redbyrd, a dead-heat for ninth of Awesome Belle and 2-1 favorite Dealbata, Font, and Callmethesqueeze.
A daughter of Wild Event-Chanson Pour Julia, by Irish Fighter, Old Tune was making her first start since last April 15 when she won her third consecutive group I stake at Gavea Racecourse. The mare now has won seven of her 12 career starts, with converted earnings of $388,180.
Old Tune was saddled in the Endeavor by Jonathan Thomas, a former assistant to Pletcher.
"She is a very attractive horse that I think would match up physically to a lot of our grade I horses, which isn't always the case with South American horses," Thomas said following the race. "She is a beautiful individual and obviously Todd had her ready to roll out of the box. It's a credit to her ability to run that fast after getting pressured on the front end and to finish up like she did. I heard no concerns from Todd (that she would need the race). At no point (in the race) was she able to get a breather. God willing, you will be hearing big things from her the rest of the year."
"I had never been on her before, not even her works," said Rosario. "But they told me she had some speed and the distance would fit. When she broke on top so easily, I knew I was riding something special. I didn't know what she had left so I didn't wrap her up and she really turned it on going to the wire with me just sitting there. She might be a very special mare."
For an Equibase chart, click here.
OLD TUNE POSES FOR THE WINNER'S CIRCLE PHOTO AFTER ENDEAVOR
Tom Cooley Photography