Tune Me In made it two-in-a-row Saturday at Monmouth Park when the Florida-bred gelding won the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes. The $100,000 Cliff Hanger victory over one mile on the turf course follows a win by Tune Me In in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes, also over the Monmouth grass on Jul. 29. Despite the recent success however, Tune Me In was let go with the highest odds in the field of five as he went to the post at nearly 7-1.
Ridden by Paco Lopez, Tune Me In broke sharp and went to the front with 6-5 favorite Get Serious just to his outside. Those two separated from the pack down the backstretch as they led the compact group though fractions of :24.23 for the first quarter-mile and :47.65 for the half. Around the far turn Tune Me In began to pull away from Get Serious and had clear lead as they hit the top of the stretch. Down the lane, Tune Me In continued to the wire a length in front of Salto, who had rallied from last to get up for second, just a head in front of Get Serious in third. Final time for the mile was 1:33.96.
Tune Me In is trained by Bruce Alexander for Patricia Generazio who resides with husband and former trainer Frank in Osterville, Mass., and Tequesta, Fla. And like many at Monmouth Park and those wagering on Monmouth races, even Alexander was a bit taken back by the victory.
“When you don’t expect it, it’s especially nice to win,” Alexander said. “In mid-stretch, you think you’re vulnerable and they’re going to close in, but in the last 50 yards he was actually getting a little space in between him and the contenders. Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he’s moved up to another level now.”
Like Alexander, Lopez was impressed by Tune Me In shortly after the start. “They told me to just go out there and see what she wants to do,” Lopez said. “She broke well and we were on top quickly. That other horse (Singlet) went by us, but I still had horse and she fought back gamely on the rail.”
The 5-year-old grey/roan gelding earning $60,000 for his win in the Cliff Hanger and now has $349,845 in career earnings from five wins in 21 starts. By Concorde’s Tune and out of the Court Trial mare Pleasant Courtney, Tune Me In paid $15.40 to win, $5.20 to place and $2.20 to show. Salto returned $3.40 and $2.20 while Get Serious also paid $2.20 to show.
Tune Me In was bred in Florida by Joseph and Helen Barbizon of Morriston.
Photo by Equiphoto