News and STORIES

Longshot Admiralty Pier Scores Tampa Bay Stakes

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday February 10, 2020
The $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes (G3T) was full of surprises and excitement on Saturday.

The Grade 1 event had a battle in the stretch between three horses, with all of them crossing the line inches apart. Prior to the results, there was an inquiry and foul claim. The winner of the race came in at 21-odds. Finally, the winning jockey was thrown from his mount after it was startled by flying birds. 

First Graded Stakes Win

After all of the chaos, the contest at Tampa Bay Downs was taken by Bruce Lunsford's Admiralty Pier. He won by a nose for trainer Barbara Minshall, and it was his first graded stakes win.

"He ran this race last year and then had a little bit of time off, some minor stuff. We started running him a little bit shorter, and it didn't work out. I think he's been running in high-class competition, and he showed a lot of determination today. It was nervous waiting (on the objection), and I'm so glad (jockey Samy Camacho) is OK because he rode him great," Minshall said.

In last year's Tampa Bay Stakes, Admiralty Pier finished fifth. That came after a January 2019 allowance optional claimer victory at Tampa Bay Downs. Following the victory, the English Channel gelding male made five of his next six starts in graded stakes, and four of those were at Woodbine. He did not finish better than fifth in any of those black-type tests.

Minshall then decided to take him to Tampa Bay for a Dec. 29 allowance optional claimer that was scheduled for turf. That was moved to the main track, but Admiralty Pier still managed to win by two lengths. 

He had a much harder challenge on Saturday, with an evenly matched field of eight. 

A Battle of Three

Admiralty Pier was in the lead with Camacho during the opening half in :24.29 while fighting against Real Story. 

As the field turned for home, Admiralty Pier was in front along the inside. Real Story was on the outside of the leader, and Halladay was running up into contention three-wide. 

When there was about three-sixteenths left, Live Oak Plantation's favored March to the Arch aimed for a hole between Admiralty Pier and Real Story that closed up as he reached it. Real Story was checked, taking the worst of the contact, and he finished last. 

Devamani, in what was his first start for trainer Chad Brown, moved to the outside of all of them and picked up ground. 

Mach to the Arch moved over to the rail in the final yards while Halladay dropped back. As the three horses fought to the wire, Admiralty Pier was able to hang on between horses and cross about an inch over Devamani. March to the Arch, a homebred trained by Mark Casse, was beaten by Devamani by a head. 

There was a stewards' inquiry, and jockey Tyler Gaffalione on March to the Arch claimed foul on the winner. It was disallowed. 

The final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:41.96 on firm turf. 

The victory was Admiralty Pier's fifth in 18 starts, and he has earned $271,583. He is the lone foal out of the Kitten's Joy mare Full Steam Ahead and was bred by Calumet Farm. 

He was purchased by Lunsford for $100,000 from the Bluegrass Thoroughbred Services consignment at The Saratoga Sale, Fasig-Tipton's select yearlings sale in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in 2016.