In his first ride at Tampa Bay Downs, Carlos Marquez Jr. brought Victory Alleged six wide into the lane to run down the leaders for a 28-1 surprise in the $142,500 Tampa Bay Stakes on the turf Dec. 21.
Racing almost exclusively in the northeast for trainer Dennis Manning and owner Mac Fehsenfeld, the 8-year-old Victory Alleged earned his first stakes win since 2004.
The son of Victory Gallop got up by a neck over Classic Campaign. Second choice Society's Chairman finished a nose out of the runner-up spot. Furthest Land, the 9-5 choice and 122-pound high weight ridden by Joe Bravo, was not a factor while finishing seventh.
Victory Alleged dropped out to ninth in the 10-horse field after a half-mile of the 1 1/16-mile event and was fanned out on the turn for home. But he closed willingly for Marquez on the far outside to get the job done. Classic Campaign, also wide on the turn with Carlos Montalvo aboard, closed with the winner and just missed. Society's Chairman had inched clear under Robert Landry in the final eighth of a mile but tired. The final time was a sharp 1:41.35.
"Mr. Manning told me the horse was fit and would run late and I shouldn't worry if the field got away from us," Marquez said. "And the horse was really relaxed down the backstretch so I asked him for a bit getting to the turn and got him to the outside coming home. He was just eating up the ground at the end.”
Victory Alleged, who paid $58, $19.40 and $8.20, had not raced in more than three months, last seen finishing fifth in an optional claiming allowance race at Meadowlands Nov. 11. Manning said he was not concerned about the layoff.
“I used old fashioned training methods," he said. "We have a nice track up at Oak Ridge (Equine Center) in Ocala, and this horse was fit. I wasn’t worried about the horse running out of trainer at the sixteenth pole; I was worried about the horse running out of horse.”
The last stakes victory for Victory Alleged came in Monmouth Park's Majestic Prince on turf Sept. 11, 2004. The Tampa Bay win was the bay horse's fifth in 22 lifetime starts and the $90,000 winning purse boosted his earnings to $254,764. Bred in Kentucky by David E. Hager II, Victory Alleged is out of the Alleged mare Buck's Lady.
Victory Alleged carried 116 pounds while topping a $2 exacta worth $307.40 and a $2 trifecta that paid $1,381.20. Classic Campaign returned $5 and $3.40. Society's Chairman was $3.40 to show.