Hutcheson S. (gr. II)

(gr. II , 7f ,)

LION TAMER (CH h, 118 lb) $90,000
Will's Way —Tippecanoe Creek , by Olympio
B—Paul Smith, KY.; O—Michael B. Tabor; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Strength Within (DK B/ g, 116 lb) $30,000
Belong to Me —Effectiveness , by Notebook
B—Glen Hill Farm, FL.; O—Glen Hill Farm; T—Thomas F. Proctor

Crafty Guy (CH g, 122 lb) $16,500
Crafty Prospector —Sheepish Grin , by Our Native
B—Oratis Thoroughbreds, KY.; O—Michael J. Gill; T—John J. Robb

Margins: 6, ¾, 3¾. Others: Scrimshaw 118($9,000) , First Blush 122($4,500) , Cajun Beat 116 . Winning Jockey, John R. Velazquez.

Lion Tamer ran true to his name in the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 15. Just like the circus performer with his top hat, whip, and chair, Lion Tamer subdued his five rivals by six lengths, getting the seven furlongs in 1:22.60.

After stalking quick early fractions of :22.18 and :44.29 set by Crafty Guy, Lion Tamer, under John Velazquez, ranged up to Crafty Guy’s outside turning for home, then opened up a two-length advantage at the eighth pole.

Lion Tamer scored his first stakes victory in his first added-money attempt. In his debut last May, he ran second to eventual multiple stakes winner Zavata, then broke his maiden off a four-month layoff in late September at Belmont Park. Off again until January, he blew away a non-winners of one “other than” allowance cast by 71/2 lengths at Gulfstream going six furlongs.

In Lion Tamer’s wake in the Hutcheson was Glen Hill Farm’s homebred Strength Within, who rallied from last for second in just his third career start. Michael Gill’s Crafty Guy held third, while Robert and Beverly Lewis’ Scrimshaw was a non-threatening fourth.

A $180,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale yearling purchased by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable, Lion Tamer was purchased privately for a reported seven-figure price tag after his allowance score on Jan. 4. His new owner is Michael Tabor. He remains under trainer Todd Pletcher’s shedrow.

The next start for Lion Tamer could come in either the 11/8-mile Florida Derby (gr. I) at Gulfstream on March 15 or the one-turn mile Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on March 16.

Lion Tamer is from the first crop of Will’s Way. A son of champion Easy Goer, Will’s Way excelled around two turns, winning both the Travers Stakes (gr. I; over Skip Away and Louis Quatorze) at three and the Whitney Stakes (gr. I; over Formal Gold and Skip Away) at four at Saratoga.

Lion Tamer is the initial stakes winner for Will’s Way. Will’s Way is one of nine stakes winners sired by Easy Goer and he is a half-brother to grade I stakes winner Willa On the Move. He stands at Fred Seitz’s Brookdale Farm near Versailles, Ky., where his 2003 stud fee is $7,500 live foal.—E.I.H.