Taletobetold, a 27-1 risk ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., fought off a swarm of challengers in upper stretch and then held off a late charge by Simply Divine to win Saturday’s $114,700 Open Mind Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on turf by one length at Churchill Downs.
Taletobetold, who led from the start in her first race on grass, covered five furlongs on “firm” turf in :57.26 and paid $56.20, $25.20, and $11.20 for her first stakes win. Simply Divine tracked the leader from the start under John McKee and paid $12.80 and $7.90, completing a $558.40 exacta. Miss A. Bomb rallied in the stretch under Jamie Theriot to take third and paid $7, rounding out a $4,138.40 trifecta. Favored Magical Ride, who broke from the outside post in a field of 11 fillies, endured a seven-wide trip and finished fourth.
The winner is a homebred daughter of Tale of the Cat owned by Robert DeWitt and trained by Eddie Kenneally. She snapped a five-racing losing streak as she improved her career record to 3-4-1 in 12 races and boosted her lifetime earnings to $192,932.
Taletobetold broke sharply and dueled for the early lead with Miss Atlantic. After a quarter-mile in :22, she turned back that rival and led by a half-length at the head of the stretch as several horses -- Simply Divine being the most prominent -- launched late rallies. Simply Divine, an 11-1 shot trained by Ken McPeek, pulled nearly even with Taletobetold in upper stretch as the favored Magical Ride charged in the middle of the track. But Taletobehold, reaching the furlong pole in :45, fought back and gradually pulled away from Simply Divine in the final yards. Miss A. Bomb ran on late to grab third, a neck in front of Magical Ride.
“At the head of the lane, she had her ears up when she made the lead,” said Hernandez. “When McPeek’s horse came to us, she just kept fighting and fighting, and I hit her a couple of times left-handed, and she went on. From the sixteenth pole on in, I knew we were a winner.”
Sheets finished fifth in the Open Mind and was followed across the finish line Molly by Golly, Floral Park, Im Classic Quality, Elitist, Mount Glitter, and Miss Atlantic. The field was reduced to 11 with the late scratches of Classify and Si Si Mon Amie.
The victory was the second stakes triumph for Hernandez during the Churchill Downs spring meet. He won the Edgewood Stakes aboard Swingit on May 4.