Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tackleberry Wins Sunshine Millions Classic

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Tackleberry, a 4-year-old Florida-bred owned and trained by Luis Olivares, led gate-to-wire at odds of 25-1 to win the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic by 2 ¼ lengths over Duke of Mischief..

Tackleberry, a winner of six of 10 starts, covered the 1 1/8th mile in 1:48.52 under jockey Javier Santiago. Dream Maestro was third while favored First Dude was fourth.

Tackleberry won four consecutive races last fall, including the Dec. 11 Fred Hooper (G3), before finishing fourth Jan. 8 at Gulfstream in the Hal’s Hope (G3).

Owner-Trainer Luis Olivares (Tackleberry): “He loves to run and wants the lead. Last time he stumbled and broke bad at the start and didn’t get to run his race. He’s a fighter. He looks like he’s dead at the top the stretch and he fights back. I might run him back next weekend. This is the biggest purse I’ve won. I won a $400,000 Stallion Stakes (Calder) and a Grade 1 in California years ago with Powder Break.”

Jockey Javier Santiago (Tackleberry): “The trainer told me to go to the lead no matter what. He said this horse does his best when he’s on the lead. I was a little surprised there wasn’t more pressure on me, but I guess the other riders saw my horse as a longshot and left us alone. In the stretch, I was asking him and asking him – I wasn’t looking back at anybody else.”

Jockey Kent Desormeaux (First Dude): “I did run into traffic on the first turn but it was mission accomplished. We wanted to take him off the pace today and I was able to do that. He hasn’t been performing up to what the team thinks he should so we wanted to get him to the outside and give him his best chance.”

(Note: Ocala Stud’s Mike O’Farrell said that Olivares bought Tackleberry privately after he was scratched from a 2-year-old sales because of a chip in a knee.).

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