Graded stakes winner Fort Prado came from far back to tally a two-length victory in the $125,000 Tampa Bay Breeder's Cup on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
The 2-1 favorite, Fort Prado made it back-to-back wins for the barn of Chris Block, upping his career record to 9-for-19 on the grass and career earnings of $523,100. Saturday's win was worth $95,000 to Team Block.
Under Brice Blanc, the 5-year-old gray son of El Prado
covered the firm 1 1/16-miles in 1:40.76, one second off the track mark.
Late-running Fort Prado ($6.40, $3.80, $2.80) broke slowly and settled in on the rail, trailing the 12-horse field entering the first turn. Still 10th after six furlongs, Blanc put Fort Prado in contention exiting the far turn, and he responded sharply when roused late in the stretch to win going away.
Icy Atlantic ($3.80, $3.60), the 5-2 second choice trained by Todd Pletcher, finished second under Chris DeCarlo after overtaking pacesetter Cherokee Prince entering the stretch. Interpatation ($9.20), trained by Robert Barbara, was up late for third with Tom Turner aboard.
Blanc said that the winning Illinois-bred had plenty in the tank when he found room in the stretch.
"He saw daylight and just exploded, eating up the field," Blanc said.
Fort Prado's last race was a neck win in the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Louisiana Downs Jan. 21.