Lexington, KY — Early Action ground uncovered for the top and powered to the finish with ease to down his competition in the first of three divisions for the $278,900 Tall Dark Stranger International Stallion Stakes for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings on Saturday (Oct. 9) at The Red Mile.
Gulf Shores, the even-money second choice, grabbed the lead to a :28 first quarter while driver Brian Sears settled Early Action into fourth, where he stayed until angling off the pegs past a :55.2 half. To the far turn, the Huntsville-Fashion Katie gelding ranged to within a length of Gulf Shores to three-quarters in 1:23 and swiftly slid by the pacesetter off the corner, striding to a two-length victory in 1:50. Birthday rallied from third over to take second with Market Based snagging third from a photo with Gulf Shores.
“The two efforts here, and when he had raced in the Kindergarten, I was impressed,” trainer Joe Holloway said after the race. “That night, I started counting the number of starts to make sure we don’t get too many for next year. Once he took command, I knew it was over. David Miller had said it, he said ‘The colt likes to win.’ He felt bad for picking off — he had a good one for Ron Burke — but he said ‘Your colt likes to win.’ That’s a big thing when they like to do that.”
Winning his seventh race from nine starts, Early Action has banked $170,558 for owners Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz. Brian Sears piloted the $3.40 winner.
Pebble Beach powered off cover to take the lead just before the finish and won the second split of the Tall Dark Stranger.
Driver Todd McCarthy floated Pebble Beach to race sixth while Fourever Boy clicked the first quarter in :28.1. Seaside Way pulled first over from fourth and catalyzed the pace up the backside to a :55.4 half before folding his bid midway around the final turn. Risenshine Seaside rushed three wide to challenge Fourever Boy to three-quarters in 1:23.3 with Caviart Camden and Pebble Beach swinging to the center of the course coming for home.
Fourever Boy dug to the lead through most of the straightaway, though Pebble Beach motored with the most momentum and edged to a length win in 1:50.4 over Caviart Camden, with Fourever Boy settling for third and Velocity Chaps taking fourth.
“Noel (Daley) decided that a half-mile track was not his liking,” co-owner Joe Sbrocco said after the race. “So he took him out and took him down here, and Noel knows his business. He’s a great trainer. (Todd McCarthy) decided that we were going to hold him off the pace a little bit and he did a great job with it. Scared the heck out of all of us, but he came home pretty good.”
Daley trains Pebble Beach for owners Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco, Country Club Acres and LA Express & JAF Racing. The Downbytheseaside-Santa Rosa colt collected his sixth victory from nine starts, accruing $283,950 in earnings. He paid $3 to win.
Captain Cowboy cruised around his rivals through the lane to land an 11-1 upset in the last division of the Tall Dark Stranger.
Loukes Perry pushed for the front to a :29 first quarter with Nautical Hanover yielding for the pocket into the backstretch. Monte Miki moved first over out of fourth by a :56.1 half with Six Feet Apart in tow second over and Captain Cowboy third over. He progressed to match strides with Loukes Perry past three-quarters in 1:25 but faced no match for the fresh legs in behind.
Six Feet Apart swept to the lead coming to the eighth pole as Captain Cowboy gathered himself to the center of the track and soon darted by under minimal encouragement from driver Dexter Dunn. The Captaintreacherous-Odds On Lassomyhrt colt rolled to a two-length victory in 1:51.2 over Six Feet Apart, with Monte Miki giving chase from third and Nautical Hanover taking fourth.
“I was lucky to pick the drive up, obviously,” Dunn said after the race. “There was actually lots of confidence in the camp — he didn’t get much luck last week and was full of pace. And going to three-quarters, I was pretty confident, too.”
Returning $25.40 to win, Captain Cowboy scored his fifth victory from eight starts, earning $109,705 for trainer Ake Svanstedt through his Ake Svanstedt Inc. along with co-owner Little E LLC.