OLDSMAR, FL – Imaginary Stables and Glenn Ellis’ War Story made a big move through the far turn to take the lead before romping home down the stretch to win Saturday’s $100,000 Challenger Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Breaking from post 7 as the heavy 4/5 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., War Story settled just off of Jay’s Way through initial fractions of :24.44 and :48.42. Entering the far turn, War Story decided that he was done playing follow the leader and used a powerful move to take command. Hitting the top of the stretch in full stride, War Story ran away from his foes, hitting the wire by 5 3/4 lengths in a final time of 1:43.43 for the 8 1/2-furlong main track event.
After being bumped at the start, Rafting recovered to run mid-pack before passing foes in the far turn on his way to a second-place finish. A three-way photo finish for third ultimately went to You’re to Blame, with a neck separating him from Big Dollar Bill and yet another neck back to Vettori Kin. Jay’s Way faded to finish sixth, with Orpheus completing the order of finish.