Tenfold takes step toward potential in Pimlico Special
A year ago, Tenfold came within three-quarters of a length of winning the Preakness Stakes, finishing just behind Justify and Bravazo.
It was that race that trainer Steve Asmussen had in mind when he pointed the dark bay/brown colt to the Pimlico Special (G3) on Friday, and Tenfold once again showed his affinity for Old Hilltop, battling through traffic to win by a neck.
Breaking from post 8 under Ricardo Santana Jr., Tenfold near the back of the 13-horse field, making his way to the rail for the run up the backstretch. Still unhurried at the five-eighths pole and content to ride the rail despite horses in front of him and to his outside, Santana Jr. split horses to begin making his move coming around the final turn of the nine-furlong race.
Still bottled up and running in the three-path heading into the stretch, Santana daringly squeezed between Flameaway and Wait for It to make the lead, finding another gear at the eighth pole to open a slim margin, holding off the late-running You’re to Blame and Cordmaker.
“Tenfold has made a dream run down the inside,” cried racecaller Dave Rodman, admiration in his voice, “Tenfold has somehow come through, it’s Tenfold, Tenfold in the Pimlico Special!”
“At the three-eighths, I knew I had plenty of horse,” said Santana Jr., “and I had to be patient and wait for the hole. When the hold opened and I asked him, he gave me a nice kick. I could feel the other horse coming on his side. The second he felt it, he kicked on.”
Tenfold won the Jim Dandy (G2) at Saratoga Race Course last summer, and after a seventh-place finish in the Travers (G1), Asmussen gave the Winchell Thoroughbreds homebred, known to be a little immature on the track, the winter off.
“He’s a big, growthy, long-legged horse,” said the trainer, “so we were just letting him be all he can be. The sky’s the limit for him. I don’t think he’s really laid his body down yet, and everything in his pedigree gets better with age.”
By Curlin out of the Tapit mare Temptress, Tenfold is on the brink of being a millionaire, thanks to the Pimlico Special win. With the $180,000 share of the purse, he’s earned $895,890 from a 10-4-0-1 record.
Last year Asmussen at times expressed frustration with the colt’s inability to make the most of his talent, and after off-the-board finishes in his two starts this year, he added blinkers, saying that the addition of equipment has gotten Tenfold “a little more serious in his training.”
Grinning after watching his charge finally convert potential to performance, he added, “This race was a definite target because of how he ran in the Preakness last year. That race had everything to do with us coming back, just to get back on track with him.”