Under jockey Jorge Chavez, Hero's Tribute pressed the early pace set by Liberty Township and drew away to a four-length win over Dream Run in a seven-furlong allowance race Saturday at Gulfstream Park. 11-10 favorite A P Valentine finished another 2 1/2 lengths back in third.
Trained by John T. Ward Jr. for owner John C. Oxley, Hero's Tribute won for the third time in five starts. The 3-year-old son of Sea Hero completed the distance in 1:22.30 while making his 2001 debut.
A P Valentine's trainer, Nick Zito, said he was satisfied with his colt's showing on a warm day after a long layoff. He ran seventh for most of the race, then rallied to finish 6 1/2 lengths behind winner Hero's Tribute.
"This is OK," said Zito, who has trained two Kentucky Derby winners. "The race he ran I'm happy with, other than winning. He just has to keep going forward, that's all. I'll get him there. This is a wonderful horse." (Chart, Equibase