Chilean-import Tamburello picked up his first win in North America Wednesday with a 3 3/4-length score in the $75,000 Gallant Fox Handicap at Aqueduct. Tamburello covered the 1 5/8-mile distance over the inner-track in 2:43.95. Colita, the 4-5 favorite, was second, with Hydrogen a nose behind in third.
At 7-1, Tamburello returned $17.60, $4.80, and $3.20. Colita paid $2.70 and $2.20, with Hydrogen retuning $2.70. The exacta paid $36.80, with the trifecta returning $115.50.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Rich Man's Gold, Tamburello is owned and trained by Michael Miceli. Haras Figuron bred Tamburello from the Roy mare Lampedusa.
In the Gallant Fox, Tamburello, under jockey Noberto Arroyo Jr., raced off the early pace set by American Style and Limero. Hydrogen moved up to take the lead at the half-mile marker and lead at the field clocked 1 3/8-miles before giving way to Tamburello. The winner assumed control of the race racing four-wide across the track as the eight-horse field neared the quarter pole and cruised to an easy win with steady encouragement down the lane.
"He was able to relax today," Miceli said. "When I ran him last time he was a little too sharp for the race. Today he relaxed much nicer and had a nice finish in him."
Before winning the Gallant Fox, the best U.S. finish for Tamburello was a second-place finish in an Oct. 14 optional claiming contest at Belmont. He followed that with back-to-back fourth-place finishes. Most recently he finished third in a Dec. 3 optional claiming contest.
"He has been a hard luck horse," Miceli said. "I think like one of his last four, he probably should have won, but just didn't have the right luck."
In his native country, Tamburello won two group races and finished second in the Gran Handicap de Chile (Chi-II) and was third in the Gran Premio Hipodromo Chile (Chi-I).
Miceli said Tamburello came to the U.S. as part of a consignment with plans to be sold. "Different people looked at him, but he never sold," the trainer said. "He is still for sale. I took over ownership of the horse."