NEW ORLEANS, LA – Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Synchrony returned from a nine-month layoff better than ever, charging hard through the far turn and drawing away gamely late to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Fair Grounds Handicap.
After bumping with High Noon Rider out of the gate, Synchrony saved ground near the rear through the first turn under Joe Bravo while Thatcher Street and Great Wide Open dueled on the front-end through opening fractions of :23.22, :47.44, and 1:12.47. Racing four-wide through the far turn, Synchrony then rallied seven-wide onto the stretch and emerged with a head advantage over the favored Mr. Misunderstood. Closing strongly, the Mike Stidham-trained Synchrony hit the wire by 2 lengths in a final time of 1:48.82 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“Horses like this that are coming off the bench, you don’t know what to expect or how they’re going to run,” Bravo said. “But he’s doing everything so well in the morning, but you never know until race day. When we came to the 3/8 pole, he was still breathing and relaxed and just watching them guys. Man, that’s what I live for; it was pretty fun. You got to thank Mike for taking him off the bench like that.”
Mr. Misunderstood held well for second, 5 lengths ahead of longshot Tiz a Slam. High Noon Rider took fourth ahead of Zulu Alpha, with Applicator, One Mean Man, Thatcher Street, Catcho En Die, Galton, Granny’s Kitten, and Great Wide Open completing the order of finish.
Synchrony’s win was his first graded stakes score in his fourth attempt and improved his record to 11-4-3-2 with career earnings of $258,102. The 5-year-old son of Tapit was transferred to Stidham’s care early in 2017 and made the switch to turf, a surface on which he hasn’t finished worse than second in four starts.
“It’s all about how the horse is doing and their mental and physical attitude,” Stidham said. “I had him for a short time last year, but he is like a completely different horse this time around. You can see it in his training, and he just telegraphed it and showed it this afternoon.”
Synchrony returned $11 to win, $4.80 to place, and $4.20 to show. Mr. Misunderstood brought back $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show, while Tiz a Slam paid $13.20 to show.