Siena Farm's homebred Isabella Sings took the lead and never looked back, easily winning by three lengths in the $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes (G3T) Feb. 11 at Tampa Bay Downs. Watch Video
Over 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf, the speedy front-running daughter of Eskendereya set fractions of :22.87 and :45.84 through the first half mile and put 5 1/2 lengths between her and the rest of the seven-horse field. Light in Paris began to make a dent in the odds-on favorite's lead around the far turn, but when jockey John Velazquez asked the Todd Pletcher-trained mare to finish strong, she powered through in the deep stretch and hit the wire in 1:41.07.
Light in Paris held on for second and Evidently was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.
"When I went to grab her at the quarter-mile pole and make her switch leads, she kind of took a step back, like she got a little confused going from a light rein to a tight rein," Velazquez said. "But from there, she went on again. We've talked about slowing her down early, but when we tried that she would fight you and throw her head up, so we decided to let her be the way she is."
The winner returned $3, $2.40, and $2.10 across the board. Light in Paris paid $2.80 and $2.20, while Evidently was worth $5.20.
Isabella Sings' connections said the Endeavour could be one of her last appearances at the track as the mare is booked to visit leading sire Uncle Mo at Ashford Stud this year. After Saturday's race, the chestnut mare boasts a record of 8-4-2 from 20 starts. She's won four total graded stakes, including the 2015 Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2T) and a three-length score in the grade 3 Eatontown Stakes last June.
Two races earlier on the card in the $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3T), also over 1 1/16 miles on the grass, it was Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable's homebred Inspector Lynley who crossed the wire first by a half length. Watch Video
With Velazquez also in the irons, the 4-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid took the lead in the deep stretch and held off a challenge from the late-running Kasaqui. Irish Straight was another half length back in third. The final time was 1:40.65.
Inspector Lynley paid $9.60, $4.80, and $3.40 across the board.
"The last time I rode him, the horse inside of us stepped out in front of us right at the gate and my horse stumbled, and I lost all chance to place him where I wanted," Velazquez said of the pair's fifth-place finish in the Tropical Park Derby Dec. 31 at Gulfstream Park.
"We broke well enough today to get in good position, and once I got running room in the stretch, I knew we had it."
Inspector Lynley has a 3-3-2 record from 12 starts. The Tampa Bay Stakes was the second graded victory for the Shug McGaughey trainee, who won the Saranac Stakes (G3T) at Saratoga Race Course in September.