Hoolie Racing Stable and Bruce Lunsford's Admiralty Pier may have been headed in the stretch, but he and jockey Samy Camacho fought back gamely to win Saturday's Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes by a nose in a three-way photo over Devamani and March to the Arch. The 21-1 longshot stayed up despite a stewards' inquiry and jockey's objection after the finish, earning the first graded stakes win of his career. A 5-year-old son of English Channel trained by Barbara Minshall, Admiralty Pier covered 1 1/16 miles over the firm Tampa Bay turf in 1:41.96.
“The race went so perfect,” said Camacho, who was tossed when Admiralty Pier shied from a flock of birds after crossing over to the dirt track after the race. “Barbara told me in the paddock to try to break on top and try to let him be comfortable and slow things down the first part and make your race. I'm so happy for the owners and the trainer. Thanks to my family and thanks to God. When I came back to the winner's circle, the horse saw some birds and got scared. I went down and I'm dirty, but I'm good.”
After a fairly even beginning, Admiralty Pier struck out for the early lead, moving over to the rail a length ahead of Real Story. He set fractions of :24.29 and :48.75, while the trio of March to the Arch, Caribou Club and Halladay moved together in third position, while Devamani was near the rear of the field down the backstretch.
Rounding the far turn, March to the Arch and Real Story both went looking for the same spot between Admiralty Pier and Halladay. At the same time, Admiralty Pier moved off the rail a bit and Halladay angled in, narrowing the gap and forcing Real Story to check sharply at the head of the lane. The riders straightened out quickly and kept moving down the stretch.
Racing toward the wire, Admiralty Pier was headed by the pair of March to the Arch and Devamani. Admiralty Pier dug in gamely and got his nose back in front just in time for the wire, relegating Devamani to second and March to the Arch to third. Halladay finished fourth, and My Bariley was fifth.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Admiralty Pier is out of the multiple winning Kitten's Joy mare Full Steam Ahead. He was a $100,000 yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select sale, and won the listed Display Stakes as a 2-year-old at Woodbine. Overall, the Tampa Bay win improves his record to 5-1-3 from 18 starts for earnings of over $280,000.
“He ran this race last year (fifth, beaten only a length) and then had a little bit of time off, some minor stuff,” said Minshall. “We started running him a little bit shorter and it didn't work out. I think he's been running in high-class competition and he showed a lot of determination today. It was nervous waiting (the objection), and I'm so glad Samy is OK because he rode him great.”
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