LAUREL, MD. 01-21-13---Three Diamond Farm’s Private Tale hopped at the start and was last all the way to the far turn but from there he was relentless in pursuit weaving through traffic and getting up to win the $125,000 Native Dancer Stakes.

Mike Trombetta trains Private Tale, a five year old son of Tale of the Cat, who completed the 1-1/16th mile distance in 1:45.85. Frontrunner Javerre held on to take second while Adirondack King loomed large in the stretch but had to settle for third.
Sheldon Russell was aboard Private Tale for the first time.

“I just thought we got a really good trip,’ Russell said. “He sort of leaped coming of the gate and that’s probably why I was so far back. They must have been going really fast because he wasn’t fooling with me. He relaxed nicely and at the half mile pole, he’s just a grinder. I was just lucky we got up in time.”

Private Tale ended 2012 with fourth place finishes in Belmont’s Bold Ruler Handicap and Gulfstream’s Claiming Crown Jewel. He returned north in late December and started this year with a third place finish in an optional claimer at Aqueduct.

“He had been getting close without getting it done,” Trombetta said. “I really liked his consistency. He always gives it a good effort. He showed up today. We got away bad but they were in a hurry and we were the benefactor. On his best day he’s on the board here today. I didn’t know if we could get the win, but he is in a good place now.”

The winner, who improved to six-of-14 for earnings of $232,200, paid $16.

Sagamore Racing, home of Native Dancer, sponsored today’s feature at Laurel Park and every runner in the field could trace his linage to the great stallion. Sagamore was represented by Tiger Walk, who finished fifth.

Eighttofasttocatch, a six-time stakes winner at Laurel Park, finished a disappointing seventh.

ORTIZ RIDES THREE WINNERS, MOVES INTO TIE ATOP JOCKEY STANDINGS

Apprentice Yomar Ortiz rode the winners of the first three races on Monday afternoon. The 21-year old was victorious aboard Win Picture ($3.20-1st), Sweet Yulianna ($3.60-2nd) and Bigleagueprospect ($5.60-3rd).

Ortiz, who finished seventh in the 2012 Laurel fall standings, moved into a tie atop the winter rankings with Sheldon Russell. Both have 15 victories after 12 days of live racing at the central Maryland track.