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What's Next for Promising 3YO Tonalist?

Gulfstream Park 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
An impressive come-from-behind maiden winner at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 18, promising 3-year-old colt Tonalist is gearing up for his return to the races.           

The bay son of Tapit returned to the work tab for the first time since his victory with a five-furlong breeze in 1:04 at Payson Park for trainer Christophe Clement.           

“It was a nice, easy maintenance work,” Clement said. “There are two or three options over the next few weeks. It’s too early right now to decide. I’ll work him back next weekend and then I will make my mind up after that. There is an allowance, there are some stakes. We’ve got many, many choices. My gut feeling is to go back in an allowance.”           

Owned by Robert Evans, Tonalist rallied five wide for a four-length victory in a nine-furlong maiden special weight event around two turns at Gulfstream, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.           

The effort came two months after his debut where he ran fourth, beaten four lengths in a one-mile maiden race at Aqueduct under jockey Joel Rosario. He was replaced by Joe Bravo at Gulfstream.           

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s always been a lovely horse,” Clement said. “He ran a very good race as a 2-year-old at Aqueduct. I was very disappointed that the jockey didn’t stick on him at Gulfstream, but that happens. He had certainly trained very well before his last race. We don’t have many 3-year-olds by Tapit in the barn; he’s the only one. You have to be very excited.”           

Best known for his suceess with grass horses, Clement went down the Triple Crown trail in 2003 with Dynever, who won the Lone Star Derby (G3) and finished fourth in the Belmont Stakes (G1). That year, he was also third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita.           

“The dam [Settling Mist] is by Pleasant Colony, so he’s got all the makings of a horse who should stay long on the dirt,” Clement said. “His maiden was very impressive. If you believe in numbers, his numbers were very good. The last good colt I had was Dynever, and he was good to us. Let’s hope [Tonalist] can have a career.”           


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