Michael Tabor's 4-year-old Lion Tamer returned to competition for the first time since April's Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) by winning a $38,000 allowance optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park Wednesday.
Ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, Lion Tamer was sent off at odds of 3-5 and won the seven-furlong race by 2 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:24 3/5 on a fast track.
The chestnut colt by Will's Way – Tippecanoe Creek (by Olympio) won the 2003 Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) by six lengths, his third straight triumph before finishing fourth in the Lane's End (gr. II) at Turfway Park March 22. He was sixth in the Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 12 and has been on the sidelines since.
He has four wins in seven career starts with earnings of $193,800. Velazquez has been aboard for all of the colt's races.
Lion Tamer, who worked crisply for his return, took command at the quarter pole after chasing the early pace while three wide down the backstretch. He drew clear by three lengths in the stretch and cruised home under a hand ride, paying $3.20, $2.20 and $2.10.
Davids Expectation was second and All American Blue finished third in the field of eight. It was an eventful heat. Two starters failed to finish. Certam Sweep clipped heels in the stretch and lost his rider. Flank Attack dwelt after acting up at the start and was pulled up. Another horse, Distinction, was disqualified from his fourth-place finish and placed eighth for floating out another horse in the stretch and causing Certam Sweep to clip heels.