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Private Tale Worth a Start in Claiming Crown Jewel
After investing $50,000 at a 2009 yearling sale and 18 months of rehabilitation time in Private Tale, Three Diamonds Farm and trainer Michael Trombetta placed the son of Tale of the Cat in a $25,000 claiming race at Parx last February.
The time and money put into the Virginia-bred gelding paid off with a sharp victory by nearly four lengths.
“He was injured as a 2-year-old. He just needed an extended period of time to get over it,” Trombetta said. “I didn’t think he was ready to win and he was able to.
“He’d had just one bad race, and we weren’t quite sure how much talent he had. As it turned out, he had more than we thought he did.”
Private Tale’s maiden-breaking victory, which came 18 months after injuring himself in a distant fourth-place finish in his debut at Delaware, marked the only time he has raced in a claiming race. One claiming appearance for a claiming price of $35,000 or lower, however, was enough to make a Private Tale eligible for Saturday’s $200,000 Jewel, the finale of the seven-race $850,000 Claiming Crown on the opening day program of Gulfstream Park’s 2012-2013 Thoroughbred meeting.
Since breaking his maiden, Private Tale has won four more times in starter allowance, starter handicaps and allowance races. He is coming off a solid fourth-place finish in the Bold Ruler (G3) at Belmont on Oct. 27.
“He’s been rock-solid and has been able to do everything we’ve asked him to do. As the competition got better, he got better with it,” Trombetta said.
Since returning from the long layoff, Private Tale has maintained an uninterrupted racing schedule while earning more than $165,000.
“We gave him lots of time to get over his problems,” Trombetta said, ‘so he’s in a happy place and doing good.”
Despite his success, Private Tale has never won a race around two turns or beyond a mile. The Jewel will be run at 1 1/8 miles around two turns.
“He seems like a horse that should be able to do it, but, obviously, it’s uncharted territory for him,” Trombetta said. “We feel this is a good opportunity for a lot of money, so we’re going to give it a try.”
Javier Castellano, who set a Gulfstream record by ridding 112 winners last season, has the mount aboard Private Tale.
“We went back to someone who was familiar with him,” said Trombetta, whose gelding was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano in a one-turn mile allowance race at Belmont Park in May.
Private Tale has been installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the Jewel, which attracted 12 entries. Flatter This, the Kathleen O’Connell-trained campaigner who captured a starter allowance at Calder, was rated second, at 4-1. Tiz Liberty, claimed for $12,500 by trainer Robert Hess out of a winning effort at Santa Anita last time out, and Dominant Jeannes, an optional claimer winner over Aqueduct turf last out, are next at 6-1.
Glass Slipper fits Tamarind Hall
Since winning a $15,000 claiming race at Aqueduct in May 2011, Tamarind Hill has been keeping some heady company. In fact, the daughter of Graeme Hall finished the 2011 season running with the best fillies and mares in the country.
The 5-year-old mare captured the Bed O’ Roses (G3), finished third in the Ballerina (G1), second in the Gallant Bloom (G2) and finished off the year in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). On the strength of her record in graded-stakes company, Tamarind Hall has been installed as the 7-2 favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Glass Slipper.
“She’s coming into the race, very, very good. She breezed over the track and breezed excellent. She looks good; she’s feeling good,” said Fawkes, whose 5-year-old trainee has worked twice over the Gulfstream oval. “I expect her to run real well.”
Tamarind Hall will break from the far outside post position under jockey David Cohen in the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares who have run at least once for a claiming price of $16,000 or lower.
“I think she’s got a very legitimate shot,” said Fawkes, whose mare has run in five straight stakes this year with a second and a third. “Naturally, the 13 hole is way out there, but I don’t think that should hurt her at seven-eighths.”