By Dick Downey
Tuba, trained by Anne Smith, went gate-to-wire over eight others to win the Black Gold Stakes.
Ridden by Jose Riquelme at odds of 63-1 for Windy Hill Farm, Tuba made it to the lead with relative ease. The gelded son of Magna Graduate set splits of :24.85, :48.61 and 1:12.77, while opening up by 3 1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch. Nearing the wire, he held off even-money favorite Another Lemon Drop by a half-length in a final time of 1:30.66 for the 7 1/2 furlongs on turf.
“It was a very good trip. I sent him to the lead, and I knew he won when he was on the lead before, so I tried to do the same,” Riquelme said. “He really responded to me. I was worried a little bit; trying to slow things down, but when I turned for home he really ran.”
Smith, who won her first stakes race as a trainer, was elated.
“I am relieved and excited and I very much wanted this,” she said. “I was hoping I could get a similar trip to his win out of him and a confident ride. You can see he has such a big stride, especially when he relaxes, and that’s his best asset. Even when we gallop him, when he relaxes, it’s huge. He’s a silly horse and does funny things in the stall, but I really believe in him and I’m so glad we tried.”
Tuba, an $11,500 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase in 2013, earned $36,000 to increase his career earnings to $49,240. The victory was his second in seven starts. His only other victory came in a $30,000 maiden claiming race.
The winner returned $129.40, $32 and $10.60. Another Lemon Drop, under James Graham for trainer Phil Bauer, returned $3.40 and $2.40. Fly Friendly Sky returned $4.20 to show for trainer Steve Flint and jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr.
The race did not carry Kentucky Derby points. Tuba is not nominated to the Triple Crown. Tuba, out of Sousaphone, was bred in Kentucky by Elisabeth Alexander.
With content from Fair Grounds release