Tackleberry led virtually gate to wire to capture the $500,000, 1 1/8 mile Sunshine Millions Classic at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Under Javier Santiago, Tackleberry gained the lead heading into the clubhouse turn and just kept going in the stretch, fending off a bid from Duke Of Mischief to win by two lengths. Odds-on favorite First Dude never threatened and finished fourth. The winning time was 1:48.52.
Tackleberry is owned by his trainer, Luis Olivares and was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud. The four-year-old is a son of Montbrook out of the Concerto mare, Box Of Joy.
Santiago sent Tackleberry to the lead as expected, with Duke Of Mischief tracking him down the backstretch. First Dude sat fourth. Tackleberry set fractions of 24.41, 48.78 and 1:12.13 as he maintained his lead rounding the far turn. Duke Of Mischief tried to go past him at the top of the stretch, as First Dude came under a ride, but Tackleberry found more and pulled away. 50-1 longshot Dream Maestro passed First Dude late to take third.
Tackleberry was coming into the race off a fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes at Gulfstream January 8. But prior to that race, he had reeled off four frontrunning victories in a row.
Despite six second or third place finishes in Grade 1 and Grade 2 company, including a second in the Preakness, First Dude hasn't won since breaking his maiden at Gulfstream last January.
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