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OLDSMAR, FL – Trainer Carlos David’s Zenden gamely fended off a stubborn Souper Stonehenge from gate to wire to win Saturday’s $100,000 Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Zenden broke from the rail under Samy Camacho and immediately went to the front to duel with Souper Stonehenge, piloted from the far outside post 7 under Jose Ferrer.
After running heads apart through opening fractions of :22.61 and :44.88, the two front-runners turned for home still on top and kicked clear of third-place Edgemont Road.
Zenden kept his head in front of his rival every step of the late stretch, eventually crossing with that advantage while completing the 6-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:09.85.
“I got my horse to relax early, and between the 3/8 pole and the 1/4 pole, I started asking him for his best and he responded really well,” Camacho said. “I peeked behind me and didn’t see anybody else coming, and at the 1/4 pole, I thought, ‘It’s you (Souper Stonehenge) and me,’ and we got the job done.”
Edgemont Road made a three-wide bid for the lead in the far turn that fell flat in the stretch as he finished 3 lengths behind the top pair.
Fireman Oscar, Shivaree, the 2/1 favorite Cool Arrow, and Admiral Lynch completed the order of finish.
He’s Smokin Now was scratched.
Zenden’s win, his second at the stakes level and first since the December 2018 Buffalo Man Stakes, improved his overall record to 14-5-3-0. The 5-year-old son of Fed Biz, owned by LLP Performance Horse, has now bankrolled $261,760 in his career.
“That’s my first stakes win at Tampa and I’m so happy he got the job done for the connections,” David said. “I talked to Samy and he told me the horse was able to relax on the lead and have enough left for the finish. This horse is a fighter and he wasn’t going to let that other horse past. Samy gave him a great ride.”
Zenden returned $16.40 to win, $8.20 to place, and $5 to show. Souper Stonehenge brought back $8.20 to place and $5.20 to show. Edgemont Road paid $3.40 to show.
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