Ticker Tape Parade played the part of an unlikely hero when he provided Tim with his 500th career winner Saturday.
Simpson was a new and improved racehorse when racing as a gelding and with blinkers for the first time in Friday’s second race. The 3-year-old broke extremely well to take command early and set a blazing first fraction of :21.94. He was challenged when turned for home and dueled with the eventual winner through the stretch. At a few points, he may have even put his nose back in front, but when the wire came he was a neck behind. Finishing second, he was 11 1/2 lengths clear of the third-place finisher.
“Simpson ran fantastic,” Tim said. “He ran like Cary (Fromer) remembered him. Unfortunately, Mike Trombetta had one in there that was maybe just a little bit better. He came out of the race well and everything looks great.”
Katy’s Cooper competed in his first race for the Keefe barn in Friday’s sixth. He never really got involved during the running of the race on dirt but should move forward next time when put in a scenario that he may prefer.
“I should’ve run him long on the grass. It’s what he wants. He showed so much ability the first time for me working on dirt,” Tim said. “I’ll run him long on the grass next time. He came out of the race great.”
Mr. 500, Ticker Tape Parade. The 0-for-12 maiden ran like a 12-time winner. Jockey Sheldon Russell made sure to establish forward position with the gelding out of the gate and ended up on the lead. He looked like a winner for every step after that.
“He’s got so much ability, I know he can run but he just does not want to show it sometimes,” Tim said. “I felt good the whole way around. I said to Victor, ‘this horse is either going to win by 15 lengths or he’s going to be fourth again, there’s going to be nothing in between.’ Fortunately, he won.”
Officially, Ticker Tape Parade won by 9 lengths. He was never asked to exert himself and was geared down late.
“No, not really,” Tim said when asked if there was a party after the win. “I know I came home and made dinner that night. It was kind of cool to finally win my 500th. Every morning I drive by King T. Leatherbury’s barn and I look up that barn No. 1 and I think, ‘man, how’d that guy ever get to 6,500 races?’ I don’t even know if I’ll get to 1,000!”
Enchanted Evening broke a step slowly again in Sunday’s final race and wasn’t able to do much damage after that.
“Maybe I need to stretch her out” Tim said. “Maybe that way she can get the lead and do her thing, sort of the way Ticker Tape Parade did it.”
Two runners from the barn made a midweek trip over to Delaware Park Wednesday.
Flight Crew ran in the second race and put in a typical honest effort. He showed speed from the gate but was never able to get by the pacesetting favorite and finished second.
“I probably went a little too cheap with him, but ultimately, I didn’t win the race. I thought I might lose him, but I haven’t been able to light the world on fire with the horse. I thought I might be able to do a little better with him,” Tim said. “He ran second best, nobody touched the winner. (John) Rigattieri made a good claim for $6,250, he’ll do fine with him.”
Le Weekend was our other entrant at Delaware earlier this week. She put in an even run, finishing fourth in a tough first-level allowance at 6 furlongs on dirt.
“She just needs class relief,” Tim said. “She’s a nice, sound filly, but she just has been running her butt off and keeps getting her head handed to her and she’s going to get discouraged after a while. We just need to make it easier for her.”
Velocite Brillante and Eye Of The Wildcat are both set to compete in Friday’s 10th race, a waiver maiden at 6 furlongs on the main track.
Velocita Brillante hasn’t raced since April but has been doing well in the interim. Feargal Lynch rides.
“She’s been off only because I can’t get her in a race going long on the dirt. It’s frustrating,” Tim said.
Sheldon Russell has the mount on Eye Of The Wildcat who makes her second start after a debut that should set her up well for improvement.
“She has moved forward since her first race,” Tim said. “I look forward to running them both.”
It seems like the barn’s runners always find a way to end up the in the last race of the day. Tapriella will make her first start on turf in Sunday’s final race.
“It’s been really hard to get her in at Penn, PA-bred long on the dirt,” Tim said. “She’s very sound and I think she’s getting a little better.”