Saturday, March 13, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 13, 2010 . . . Tears were as common as smiles in the Turfway Park winner's circle Saturday as Timeless Fashion and his connections posed for photos after winning the $50,000 Tejano Run Stakes. Forest Attack was second, half a length behind the winner and 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Slick Pardoned Me in third.
Ridden in the Tejano Run by James Lopez, Timeless Fashion broke his maiden under jockey Justin Vitek in his second start. That race would prove to be the final win for Vitek, who died January 28 at age 36 after a two-year battle with cancer. More than 20 members of Vitek's family and friends made the trip from Texas for a memorial service held at Turfway after Saturday's races. Vitek's mother, Kathy, presented the stakes trophy to Timeless Fashion's owners, Bob Liedel of R-Cher Family Farms LLC and Judy Miller.
Timeless Fashion set a pedestrian pace in the 1 1/8-mile Tejano Run, clocking the quarter in :26.12, the half in :50.98, and three-quarters in 1:15.52 before finishing in 1:52.82. "I didn't expect that," said Lopez. "I thought Maker's horse [Forest Attack] would take the lead, and when he wasn't there, I slowed him down as much as I could. I can't believe they just let me go."
Racing outside, Slick Pardoned Me sat off the flank of the winner through three-quarters before giving way to Forest Attack. Forest Attack, making his first start past a mile, raced inside a couple of lengths off the pace, took over second entering the stretch and went after Timeless Fashion, but he could not close the gap quickly enough. Well behind the top three were Motown Shuffle, Baryshnikov, and Cherokee Triangle.
"He's hard to beat when he's on the lead like that,” said Lopez. "He's all heart. The first quarter was slow, the half was slow—I knew I had plenty left. He's a pro. He knows how to get there."
"I just told [Lopez] to use his best judgment," said trainer Tom Drury Jr. "This horse has won on the lead before, so we were fine with that. 'Lopey' backed him up to a walk and it worked out great. I saw Tommy [Pompell, on Forest Attack] still had his horse picked up pretty good turning for home and I was a little concerned that if he kicked on he might out-foot us, but our horse is as game as they come."
Timeless Fashion paid $3.20, $2.10, and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite.
Timeless Fashion, a six-year-old Sky Classic gelding out of Added Ruffles, by Formal Gold, has earned $271,056 and in 14 starts counts 8 wins including four stakes, two seconds, and two thirds. He was bred in Kentucky by David E. Hager II.
Saturday's win held great meaning for Drury and the owners, for whom Vitek rode regularly, and for fellow rider and friend Lopez. As Miller struggled to put the moment into words, an emotional Drury said, "Everybody's fighting tears. This was a whole lot more than just a horse race."
That thought was echoed by Lopez. "It means the world to me. Me and Justin were close, and that was for him. I can't explain it; it's very emotional."