Full circle as Trombetta trainee takes Big T feature
by Frank Vespe
Trainer Mike Trombetta began his Saturday in Saratoga where, on Friday, We Deer You, a horse he trains for Live Oak Plantation, posted a mild upset in the Lucky Coin Stakes.
He ended his Saturday in Timonium.
“I drove all the way back from Saratoga this morning,” Trombetta said this afternoon. “That tells you something.”
A couple of somethings, actually.
Maybe the more important of those is that he loves it at the Big T.
“I told my son Michael this morning, we were walking through the barn area, I was a year older than him — I was 14 when I started walking horses here,” Trombetta said.
That was back when Timonium hosted a 42-day meet.
“I used to hang out here all summer,” Trombetta said. “It was a really neat experience.”
Neat enough, in fact, that Trombetta bypassed Delaware Park, where he had two in today, to get down to Timonium.
That proved to be a wise decision, as Broad Expanse, a first starter he trains for Fitzhugh LLC, surged late to take the day’s feature, a $40,000 maiden claiming event for two-year-olds, by a half-length in 1:20.31 for 6 1/2 furlongs over a sloppy, sealed surface.
Broad Expanse, a Maryland-bred colt, boasts some fancy bloodlines. He’s by top sire Curlin and out of the multiple stakes-winning Concern mare Sticky. Among his sibs is the stakes winner Wild for Love.
Once, that might have made putting Broad Expanse in even a high-priced maiden claimer a dicey proposition. But under Maryland’s rules these days, Maryland-breds can run at the $40,000 maiden claiming level without being offered for sale. Five of the nine horses here, including Broad Expanse and stablemate Include It, took advantage of the waiver.
“It’s very beneficial because obviously, a horse like this, these breeders tie up a lot of money in them,” Trombetta said. “Yet they might not be quite good enough to handle the top-tier horses we get in Maryland now. Our maiden races have gotten very good.”
In today’s race, Broad Expanse, under meet-leading rider J. D. Acosta, saved ground on both turns while never far off the pace. Parade of Freedom, a firster out of the Bernie Houghton barn, made all the early running and still held a 2 1/2 length lead with a furlong to go.
But Acosta was able to tip Broad Expanse out and surge late to get up for the win. Parade of Freedom held second, and it was another three parts of a length back to Swingstage in third.
Broad Expanse, one-half of a coupled entry with Include It, paid $3.00 to win as the odds-on favorite. The exacta returned $24.60.
Horses bred like Broad Expanse don’t typically show up at the Big T, but Trombetta said that decision was due to a combination of factors.
“He’s a little small, a little immature,” Trombetta said. “And to be quite honest, with a three-day-a-week schedule, and as we start to get into the fall, some of these horses are starting to stack up on each other.
“We didn’t want to go outside of the state of Maryland, being as he’s a Maryland-bred,” he continued. “And the money’s just about the same as at Laurel.”
And, of course, there are the memories.