Photo: Benoit Photo
Devoid of the West Coast’s turf heavyweights, the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes was anyone’s
game. It looked like a good spot for Summer Front to collect that elusive grade
1 victory he has been chasing for 3 years or an excellent spot for Unbridled
Command to get back on track after being absent from the starting gate for more
than a year. Instead it was upstart Tom’s Tribute that collected the victory.
Quick out of the gate, Tom’s Tribute immediately strode to
the front of the field but settled in nicely behind Horizontalyspeakin when it
became clear that rival wanted the lead. Comfortably tucked in on the rail,
Tom’s Tribute tracked the leader through fractions of 23:84 and 46:95. It was a
rail trip for all as the compact field of six raced single file through a good
portion of the race with all content with their position.
In the far turn, Tom’s Tribute finally made a move after
Horizontalyspeakin and collared that rival at the top of the lane. Winning
jockey Mike Smith stated, “He really relaxed today. That’s the key with this
horse. It was nice having that pace up front. We sat in right behind him (early
leader Horizontalyspeakin) and were real comfortable. Because he was so
relaxed, when it came time he had lots. He won like he wanted to.”
While Tom’s Tribute was pulling away from the early leader,
to his outside, Summer Front was
determinedly charging after him, but his best fell short yet again as Smith
confidently urged his charge forward to the wire, winning by a length in a half
in a final time of 1.46:01 for the nine furlong affair.
“He ran a good race. The winner gets all the credit. I was
closer than I wanted to be, but that’s not an excuse,” jockey Joe Bravo, who
piloted Summer Front to his runner-up effort, said about the duo’s trip
following the race.
Spring Up closed from second last to get up for third. The
order of finish was completed by pacesetter Horizontalyspeakin, Unbridled Command and Cogito.
Sent off at odds of 2-1, Tom’s Tribute paid $6.60/$3.20/$2.80.
Runner up Summer Front returned $2.40/$2.20, and third place finisher Spring Up
paid $3.80. The $1 exacta was worth $5.70, the $1 trifecta paid $16.00, and the
$1 superfecta returned $38.10.
Winning trainer Jim Cassidy was happy with his charge’s
effort in his first grade 1 victory. “It was a beautiful ride. I think I’ll
vote for Mike Smith for the Hall of Fame next year. You’ve got to get this
horse to relax, that’s the key, and today Mike got him to relax and (Tom’s
Tribute) was the most professional of any race he’s run,” he exclaimed.
As to the newly minted grade 1 winner’s next race, Cassidy
stated, “We had originally planned on the Del Mar Mile and not this race, but
then I changed my mind. I don’t know what’s next but we’ll be thinking about
the Breeders’ Cup.”
By Lion Heart, and out of the El Prado mare Halloween Fun,
Tom’s Tribute visited the auction ring twice. As a yearling, he sold for
$60,000 to Purpoodock Bloodstock at the Keeneland 2011 September Yearling Sale.
His stock greatly increased in a short time as Marilyn Braly purchased him for
$310,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company 2012 Selected Two-Year Olds in
Training Sale. With today’s win, the chestnut colt improved his record to 12:
5-3-1 for total purse earnings of $442,880.