No Tepin, no problem.
Run down by that dual champion turf mare after building up an 18-length lead in the Hillsborough (G2) 11 months ago, Isabella Sings returned to the Tampa Bay Downs turf on Saturday for the $150,000 Endeavour (G3). The 1-2 favorite after Tepin’s withdrawal from consideration last week due to a colic attack, Isabella Sings set another strong pace in the Endeavour but, lacking a rival of that quality, asserted her dominance with a three-length win under John Velazquez.
Up by as much as 5 1/2 lengths through splits of :22.87, :45.84, and 1:09.44, Isabella Sings had plenty left to repel a mild challenge from Light In Paris in deep stretch. The Siena Farms homebred covered 1 1/16 miles on firm ground in 1:41.07 and paid $3. Second choice Light In Paris finished 1 1/2 length clear of Evidently for the place.
This was the sixth career stakes win and fourth in graded company for Isabella Sings, a five-year-old by Eskendereya trained by Todd Pletcher. Her previous graded scores came in the 2015 Mrs. Revere (G2) and 2016 renewals of the Eatontown (G3) and My Charmer H. (G3). In addition to the Hillsborough, she’s placed in five other stakes, four of which were graded. She’s now earned $628,170 from a line of 20-8-4-2.
The Kentucky-bred is out of the stakes-placed Isobel Baillie, by Lomitas, who has also reared the multiple stakes-winning Alaura Michele. Isabella Sings counts as her fourth dam the 1980 champion older mare Glorious Song, a full sister to 1983 juvenile champion Devil’s Bag who reared 1996 turf male champion Singspiel and noted sire Rahy. Glorious Song is the ancestress of top-level winners Campanologist, Mezzo Soprano, Verxina, and Danon Chantilly.
Inspector Lynley disappointed in his 2016 finale in Gulfstream’s Tropical Park Derby on New Year’s Eve, but got his four-year-old campaign off to a strong start winning the $150,000 Tampa Bay (G3) in his first start against older horses.
A ground-saving fourth under Velazquez as Irish Strait and Turbo Street took turns setting a pace of :23.45, :47.80, and 1:11, Inspector Lynley was shifted off the inside entering the stretch, got past favored Catapult and wore down Irish Straight in deep stretch to win by a half-length over a fast-closing Kasaqui.
“The last time I rode him, the horse inside of us stepped out in front of us right at the gate and my horse stumbled, and I lost all chance to place him where I wanted,” Velazquez said of the fifth-place finish. “We broke well enough today to get in good position, and once I got running room in the stretch I knew we had it.”
Owned by Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable, the Shug McGaughey-trained Inspector Lynley completed 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:40.65 and paid $9.60 as the 3-1 third choice in a field of nine.
Grade 3 winner Kasaqui, runner-up in the Arlington Million (G1) and making his first start since October, finished a half-length ahead of Irish Strait, with Catapult two lengths farther back in fourth.
By Lemon Drop Kid and out of multiple Grade 3 heroine Criminologist, by Maria’s Mon, Inspector Lynley has now earned $370,999 from a line of 12-3-3-2. Highlights of his sophomore campaign were a win in the Saranac (G3) at Saratoga and placings in the Kent (G3) and Transylvania (G3).