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OLDSMAR, FL – Trainer Tom Bush’s Get Smokin rallied to the lead off the far turn and held sway over several late-charging rivals to win Saturday’s $175,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.
After breaking from post 3 as the 4/1 second choice under Junior Alvarado, Get Smokin tracked closely inside and behind early leader Proven Strategies, then tipped out on the backstretch to ready his attack.
Given the green light off the far turn, Get Smokin took over near the top of the stretch and had enough left to hold off Eons and Admission Office and win the 1 1/16-mile firm turf route by 3/4 of a length in 1:40.75.
“I had to get out of there running,” Alvarado said. “He’s a fast horse and he likes to be on the lead, but I knew (Proven Strategies) has a lot of speed, too, so it wasn’t necessary for me to keep going after him and go head-to-head. … Turning for home, I was just a passenger keeping him happy and he started picking it up on his own without me asking, so I knew I was in good shape.”
Eons edged Admission Office by a neck for second, with the same gap separating Talk Or Listen from the 5/2 favorite Greyes Creek for fourth.
Fancy Liquor, Atone, Delaware, Sole Volante, Proven Strategies, Armistice Day, and By Your Side completed the order of finish.
Get Smokin’s win was his second at the graded stakes ranks following last October’s Hill Prince (G2) at Belmont Park, with his defeat a fourth-place effort in the Hollywood Derby (G1) at Del Mar. The 4-year-old Get Stormy gelding improved his record to 12-3-3-2 with $319,540 earned for owner Mary Sullivan.
“We were worried about the speed in there and I knew that (Proven Strategies) would be a little bit of a thorn in our side today, but (Get Smokin) was ready,” Bush said. “Our horse was coming into it great. We gave him a little freshening after California and he has really responded since he got to Florida. He’s been in the feed tub and we were really hoping he would run this race, and he did.”
Get Smokin returned $10 to win, $6 to place, and $4.60 to show. Eons brought back $13.40 to place and $9.20 to show, while Admission Office paid $4.20 to show.
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