Things got a little messy over the final furlong, but The Tabulator had enough to get the job done today at Churchill Downs in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes. In so doing, the son of Dialed In punched his ticket not only for an automatic berth into the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, November 4 at Del Mar, but also as the winner of the first points (10) race for the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
Off a pair of easy victories, one in a maiden race at Arlington Park, and the other in the Prairie Gold Juvenile at Prairie Meadows, the undefeated colt was shown respect at the betting windows, at 4-1 in the field of ten. Trained by Larry Rivelli, The Tabulator not only was racing under the twin spires for the first time, but also going a route of ground for the initial time after two fast sprints.
Favored was Hollywood Star, trained by Dale Romans, ridden by Robby Albarado and owned by Albaugh Family Stable, the same team that won this race last year with Not This Time. That one came up just a little short in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, before an injury forced an early retirement. In the end, Hollywood Star would prove the only competition for the Chicago-based The Tabulator.
The Tabulator broke well from the outside to quickly gain a forward position heading into the first turn. The early lead was wrestled away from him by longshot, Smart Remark, as the two opened a gap between them and the rest of the field on the first turn. That one went on with it, and Jose Valdivia, Jr. was content to track in second aboard The Tabulator.
The two would hold their position through the entire backstretch, until The Tabulator made his move heading into the far turn. By the time the Iroquois ten came spinning out of the turn, he had left the longshot behind, and was all alone.
The two favorites, Hollywood Star and Ten City looked to make it interesting, by rallying into second and third, but The Tabulator still looked strong in mid-stretch. A couple of instances of bearing out in the late stages could not stop the winner, although Hollywood Star finished well to get within 3/4 of a length on the wire.
“We’ve always thought highly of him and he’s always acted like a nice horse from the beginning,” Valdivia said. “We won impressively in the debut but Larry couldn’t get an allowance race to go at Arlington so he shipped to Prairie Meadows. In both of these two starts he was still pretty green. Even in this race he still had a little immaturity. We inherited the lead a little before I actually wanted to. He broke so well and we got into a good position and relaxed early. When we turned for home in front he still looked around a little bit in the stretch but I’m just glad we were able to get there.”
Final time for the 8 1/2 furlongs over the fast main track at Churchill Downs was 1:45.50. Ten City, winner of the Bashford Manor Stakes here at Churchill Downs in June, was much the best of the rest in third, but could not threaten the top two.
Owned by Carolyn Wilson, The Tabulator ( Dialed In -- Fly to the Stars, by Giant's Causeway) was a $460,000 two-year-old in training purchase this March in Ocala. With today's graded stakes victory, he raised his career record to a perfect 3-for-3, with $143,550 in the bank.
As the third choice, The Tabulator paid $10.40, $4.80, and $3.40 across the board. The $2 exacta over the favorite was good for $35.60, while the 9-2-1 triple, completed by Ten City, returned $85.00.