OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Although it took eight tries to break her maiden, Verve’s Tale made her first start against winners a success by upsetting the Grade 3, $250,000 Comely Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Sent off as the longest shot in the field of seven at 20-1, Charles Fipke’s homebred daughter of Tale of Ekati comfortably stalked in fourth position as Big Mara and Mo d’ Amour raced to the lead with 3-5 post time favorite Lewis Bay in close pursuit.
Setting fractions of 23.93 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and the half going in 48.47, Mo d’ Amour remained in front as Lewis Bay moved to the two path heading to the quarter-pole, where she overtook the lead. Saving ground throughout, the Barclay Tagg-trained Verve’s Tale moved four-wide in the upper stretch with Lewis Bay in her sights.
Passing Mo d’ Amour at the three-sixteenths pole, Verve’s Tale was set down and caught Lewis Bay in the final jumps to secure the victory by a neck.
She completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:51.89.
“In the first turn, everybody came over and I waited,” said winning jockey Paco Lopez. “Then I started picking up horses outside at the three-eighths pole. I didn’t have much pace to run at. In the stretch, she gave me a lot. She’s a very nice filly and she tried really hard today.”
Returning $43.60 for a $2 win wager, the victory boosted Verve’s Tale earnings to $268,100 as she picked up her first graded stakes win and second win from nine career starts.
“I wasn’t quite sure she was where she should be for these type of horses, but she was doing so well, I couldn’t hold her down, so I put her in there,” said Tagg. “She loves to run. She’s nice and sound. She’s gone through all kinds of stuff, but she’s been doing quite well. I wasn’t afraid to bring her over.
“We’ll see how she comes out of this,” he added. “We’ll take the whole group to Florida next week and see how she goes and what’s there. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”
Following Lewis Bay in second were Going for Broke, Flora Dora, Mo d’ Amour, Unbridled Mo and Big Mara.