In Tune Remains Perfect In Oaks
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL -- In Tune maintained her pitch-perfect record with a determined victory in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks this afternoon. Owned and bred by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, the daughter of Unbridled's Song slugged it out with House Rules the length of the stretch and hit the wire a neck in front of her main rival.
Bet down to even-money on the strength of her two previous wins at Gulfstream Park, In Tune came away well from post six and settled in second as Whomping Willow cut out a 47.67 opening half-mile. The Allen Jerkens-trained House Rules, sent off as the 9-2 second choice, ranged up three wide on the far turn and engaged In Tune. House Rules appeared to have the momentum in midstretch, but In Tune responded to a vigorous ride by jockey Javier Castellano and finished up the nine-furlong distance in 1:50.19. America, trained by Bill Mott for owner Bobby Flay, was 3 3/4 lengths behind in third.
"She showed a lot of courage down the lane," winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. "We anticipated that there would be some other speed in there, so we felt like with our post position that we could sit off of it if we needed to. It pretty much unfolded like we thought. There's a very strong headwind coming down the lane, but the track is playing fairly."
Castellano has ridden In Tune to victory in all three of her racetrack appearances.
"She’s an amazing filly," Castellano said. "She was really fighting. When she saw that other filly coming, she took off again. She’s undefeated. I give all the credit to the filly. She was stretching out today, and she was wonderful.”
In Tune, a half-sister to stakes winners Chitoz and Wichitoz, donned cap and gown when unveiled in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden win at Gulfstream on Jan. 12. She handled two turns with a front-running display in a first-level allowance test on Feb. 27, and justified Pletcher's regard.
"It's rare that you have one come along this quickly, a short maiden to a long 'a other than' to a graded stakes," Pletcher added. "She stepped up in class and distance each time and passed every test, so I'm very proud of her."
Pletcher did admit to have a few anxious moments during the stretch run.
"Any time one of the Chief's comes to you, you've got to be nervous," Pletcher said. "He's the greatest. We're proud of our filly for digging in and getting it done."
This marked Pletcher's fourth victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks in the last five years. He saddled Dreaming of Julia 12 months ago, R Heat Lightning in 2011 and Devil May Care in 2010.