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Tackleberry, Soaring Empire Meet Again

Improving Tackleberry keeps firing big efforts. It’s no wonder his connections keep running him in big races.

The 4-year-old gelded son of Montbrook returns just two weeks after pulling a 27-1 upset in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic to face seven foes in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (gr. II) on Feb. 12. One of the horses Tackleberry will take on is Soaring Empire, who defeated him in the Jan. 8 Hal’s Hope (gr. III).

Owned and trained by Luis Olivares, Tackleberry has won five of his last six starts dating back to a first-level allowance score at Calder in October. He has won at six furlongs, a mile, and 1 1/8 miles during his run, including the Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) and Sunshine Millions Classic which were both at 1 1/8 miles.

Tackleberry finished fourth in the Hal’s Hope, beaten 2 1/4 lengths during a race where he failed to show his usual speed after bobbling at the start. Morning Line and Rule, who came back to finish second and third, respectively, in the grade I Donn Handicap, finished just ahead of him that day. Regular rider Javier Santiago will again have the mount, and they will break from post 7 in the seven-furlong contest.

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