Saturday, January 15, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 15, 2011 – Hungry Tigress pounced after the early leaders faltered and then ran down like-minded Minewander to take the $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes by a head at Turfway Park Saturday. Coastal Solace was 5 1/4 lengths farther back in third. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:12.96.
The victory capped a comeback for Hungry Tigress, who was sidelined for a year by a cracked cannon bone after a runner-up finish in the Autumn Leaves Stakes at Mountaineer in October 2009. Her success in the Wishing Well followed two off-the-board finishes since the layoff, one in November at Churchill Downs and the other at Turfway early last month.
Winning trainer Bill Connelly wasn't surprised by the win after the tune-ups. "She was just getting fit," he said. "She spent a year on the farm, and we were thinking about breeding her but then decided to bring her back."
With Hungry Tigress racing outside less than two lengths behind, Sweet Gladys and 9-5 favorite War Kill moved quickly to the front, with Sweet Gladys leading the way by a head to set the first quarter in :23.07. Those two then dropped back to race out of contention as Minewander moved up the rail to set the second quarter in :47.37 and lead the way into the stretch. Hungry Tigress was by then just a length back and the two raced right together, equally game even as the winner began to inch ahead in the final half-furlong.
"She broke sharp, and I just put her in a good spot," said winning rider John McKee. "While the speed kind of dueled up front, we sat right in the pocket. When I asked she was ready for the task and responded well. I was a little concerned about speed holding and I think my horse likes to go a little longer, so I didn't want to be too far off of it. She was well trained and ready to go."
Behind Coastal Solace came Jonmil's Edge, Broken Wedding, Snowscape, Sweet Gladys, Derby Day Storm, War Kill, and Broadway Hennessey.
Fifth choice at 7-1, Hungry Tigress paid $17.40, $8.40 and $6.
Six-year-old Hungry Tigress is owned by Bernard Schaeffer and has now earned $215,832 in 17 starts. Her four wins include now two stakes, four of her eight seconds also came in stakes, and she has one third place finish. She is by Hold That Tiger out of the Clever Trick mare Baldski’s Finesse.
Racing continues Sunday at 1:10 p.m.