That was trainer Michael Trombetta's message this morning to his assistant and exercise rider, Sarah Shaffer – as well as area racing fans who hope to see unbeaten 3-year-old colt Independence Hall in action at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 8 in the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Trombetta was in touch with Shaffer via radio during the strapping youngster's 4-furlong workout this morning, urging her to “sit tight” after a second eighth of a mile in 11 3/5 seconds. Working in company with stablemate Torch of Truth, a 5-year-old gelding, Independence Hall geared down a notch on Shaffer's command, then finished in fine fashion in 49 3/5 seconds before galloping out.
Trombetta was pleased with his colt's second workout at the Oldsmar oval since arriving here following his New Year's Day victory in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct.
“That was enough for today. He just ran 19 days ago,” Trombetta said. “It's where I want him to be. That's why I do these radio things with the riders, because if she (Shaffer) had persevered like she started off, he'd have worked in 47 and change, and I don't want that yet. He doesn't need it. So he did just enough, and next week we'll ask him for a bit more.”
Racing insiders have been talking about Independence Hall since he won the Grade III Nashua Stakes on Nov. 3 at Aqueduct by 12 ¼ lengths in an impressive time of 1:34.66. Jose Ortiz was the jockey.
Independence Hall is a son of multiple-Grade I winner and hot young sire Constitution and out of the Cape Town mare Kalahari Cat. He is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Kathleen Verratti and Robert Verratti.
Trombetta said a decision has yet to be made on Independence Hall's next start, with the Sam F. Davis and the Grade II Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford-Lincoln on Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds among the possibilities.
“There are a lot of factors to weigh,” Trombetta said. “The goal for all of us is to have a horse that's ready but still fresh enough to run well when the stakes get higher. When you're running that last race before the (Kentucky) Derby and the Derby, they're the ones you have to show up for.”
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