Guys Reward Strikes From Last in Tampa Bay

Guys Reward Strikes From Last in Tampa Bay
Photo: SV Photography
Guys Reward comes home strong to win the Tampa Bay Stakes.
Halting a six-race winless stretch, Michael Bruder's Guys Reward stormed past favorite Salto in the stretch and completed a torrid last-to-first upset in the $150,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT) Feb. 1 at Tampa Bay Downs (VIDEO).
 
Tracking from third early for Luis Saez, odds-on favorite Salto swiftly advanced around the far turn and dispatched pacesetter Mellow Fellow to lead off the home turn by two lengths. He was not strong enough to hold his advantage, however, as Guys Reward burst from the pack with a powerful outside rally and overhauled him in deep stretch for a 1 1/2-length triumph. 
 
With Abdiel Jaen in the irons, Guys Reward covered 1 1/16 miles on yielding turf in 1:43.44 to win at 14-1 odds. He tracked at the back of the nine-horse field early and advanced into contention on the inside past the quarter pole. Angling off the rail for a clear run from fourth in early stretch, he willingly lengthened stride to wear down the runner-up. 
 
The 7-year-old son of Grand Reward posted his first win in 19 months since taking the Firecracker Handicap (gr. II) July 2012 at Churchill Downs to cap a three-race victory skein. Trained by Dale Romans, the veteran turf performer improved his overall record to 8-5-10 from 41 career starts while posting his third stakes win and second in graded company. Dismissed in the wagering after a 10th-place on yielding turf in the El Prado Stakes Dec. 28 at Gulfstream Park, he was much the best in the Tampa Bay Stakes. 
 
Salto outfinished Golden Sabre by three-quarters of a length to hold second place. Riding the River was fourth, followed by Dannhauser, Mellow Fellow, Looking Cool, Super Chunky, and Nicklaus Way.
 
Guys Reward returned $31.50, $7.80 and $5.20 while Salto returned $2.80 and $2.20. The 1-6 exacta was worth $57.60. Golden Sabre paid $3.
 
Seal Cover, Philly Ace, and Humble and Hungry were scratched.
 
Guys Reward was bred in Kentucky by Haymarket Farm out of the Mr. Greeley mare Beach View. He has placed in five graded stakes, including a third to the eventual Horse of the Year Wise Dan in the 2012 Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III)  on the Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course.

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