Saturday’s $150,000 Endeavour (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs was supposed to be all about Got Stormy, but the 1-5 favorite’s rally stalled in the stretch, and she wound up fourth behind the 16-1 front runner Jehozacat.
Although a longshot, Lael Stables’ homebred Jehozacat was coming off her first stakes win, a 5 1/2-length wire job in the Jan. 18 Wayward Lass on the Tampa main track, and jockey Daniel Centeno employed the same tactics back on the turf. The blueblood daughter of Tapit and multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Precious Kitten opened up through fractions of :24.73, :48.97, and 1:12.63 on the firm course.
Meanwhile, Got Stormy appeared to be comfortable in third, advancing on the far turn and taking over second into the stretch. Instead of sustaining her bid, however, the multiple Grade 1 star flattened out. Not only could she gain no more on Jehozacat, but Got Stormy found herself outkicked on both flanks. Altea speared through on her inside, and Andina Del Sur passed wider out.
Jehozacat was looking for the wire late as Altea bore down, and it came in time. The Arnaud Delacour mare held on by a neck in a final time of 1:42.44 for 1 1/16 miles and paid $35.60 to win. Andina Del Sur checked in another three-quarters of a length back in third, and a length up on Got Stormy. Next came Phantom Opening and A. A. Azula’s Arch. Dynatail and Kelsey’s Cross were scratched.
With this first graded tally, Jehozacat improved her record to 17-5-4-0, $254,090. The 5-year-old is a full sister to Grade 3 winner Divining Rod, who also placed in American Pharoah’s Preakness (G1) and missed by a head in the 2016 Cigar Mile (G1). Their dam, Precious Kitten, is a Catienus half-sister to champion and leading sire Kitten’s Joy. Also close up in the family is champion Dreaming of Anna, dam of Grade 1-placed Fast Anna who is now a promising young sire.
The $150,000 Tampa Bay (G3) also furnished an upset with a Kitten’s Joy connection. The 21-1 Admiralty Pier, who is out of a Kitten’s Joy mare, fended off Devamani, March to the Arch, and the stewards in a contentious finish.
Striding to lead through an opening quarter in :24.29, Admiralty Pier was joined by Real Story as they reached the half in :48.75. Admiralty Pier regained the upper hand by the 6-furlong split in 1:12.19, and dug in bracing for challengers entering the stretch.
That’s where the fracas ensued. Real Story was trying to hold his ground as 5-2 favorite March to the Arch probed for a seam and Halladay ranged up on the outside. Suddenly Halladay’s hind end shifted out as he bumped Real Story, who was squeezed back and checked abruptly in self-preservation.
March to the Arch dove to the inside and appeared on the verge of overtaking Admiralty Pier, until Devamani exploded wider out from the back of the pack. The late runner might have galvanized Admiralty Pier, who prevailed by a nose over Devamani with March to the Arch a head back. Halladay ran out of steam in fourth, followed by My Bariley, Hembree, Caribou Club, and the unfortunate Real Story.
But the stewards obviously wanted to take a look at the stretch incident. The inquiry sign flashed, and March to the Arch’s rider, Tyler Gaffalione, lodged an objection against Samy Camacho on Admiralty Pier. Although it’s possible that Admiralty Pier might have come out a bit, the shifting camera angles between the far turn and the stretch made it difficult to decipher whether he did – and even if he had, how it stacked up to Halladay’s rampage. The stewards let the original order stand.
By negotiating 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.96, Admiralty Pier and Camacho each earned a first graded victory. Trained by Barbara Minshall for Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford, the 5-year-old English Channel gelding sports a mark of 18-5-1-2, $271,583.
Admiralty Pier was honored with a Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion 2-year-old male of 2017, thanks to a score in the Display and a third in the Summer (G2). His last stakes credit was a third in the 2018 Transylvania (G3), but he was beaten only a length when fifth in this race a year ago, and warmed up with an off-the-turf allowance win Dec. 29. His Tampa Bay verdict was worth $44 to his loyalists.
Bred by Calumet Farm, Admiralty Pier sold for $100,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling. His dam, Full Steam Ahead, is a full sister to Group 3 winner Steaming Kitten and multiple stakes victor Eden Grey’s Kitten.