Tackleberry keeps rolling in G2 Gulfstream Sprint Championship
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Tackleberry won his sixth race in his last seventh starts, putting in a determined run to win the $150,000 Gulfstream Sprint Championship (G2) on Feb. 12. The 4-year-old son of Montbrook was coming back in just two weeks, fresh off a victory in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, at nine furlongs, on Jan. 29.

Consistency at a particular distance or on a singular surface is one thing, but Tackleberry continues to prove he can win sprinting or routing, and on a fast or sloppy track. In the seven furlong Gulfstream Sprint, over a fast surface, Tackleberry stalked in the second spot less than a length off the pace set by Gaucho. Tackleberry rallied to the lead leaving the turn and dug in gamely to hold off the charge of favored Soaring Empire, who could not get closer than two lengths, the final margin. An excellent time of 1:22.84 netted a 103 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest of his career.

“This is his moment," winning jockey Javier Santiago said. "He’s just winning at every distance. A mile and an eighth, seven furlongs, six furlongs, it doesn’t matter. The trainer (Luis Olivares) told me to try to go to the lead, but said if Gaucho is there just try to stay close. He said to wait on the other horses to make my move and that’s exactly what happened.”

“He just loves to run," Olivares said. "He came bouncing out of his last race ready to do something the next day. I’ll look at the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2, on March 12). Later on we might have to look at races in New York.”

Olivares, who also owns Tackleberry, bought the dark bay privately as a 2-year-old from breeder Ocala Stud Farm, where Montbrook stands. Out of the Concerto mare Box of Joy, began his current run with a six-furlong allowance win at Calder last October. He won an optional claimer going a mile the next month and then scored in his stakes debut a week later in the restricted Jack Dudley Sprint H. Tackleberry won the nine-furlong Fred Hooper Handicap (G3) before annexing the rich Sunshine Millions Classic.

Tackleberry now has a record of 7-2-0 in 11 starts, with earnings of $577,225. Tackleberry, along with 2011 graded stakes winner Big Drama, have propelled Montbrook to the top of this year's Florida stallion rankings, and also placed him in the top 10 nationally.

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