Forty Tales flies home to win the Woody Stephens.<br><a target="blank" href="!i=2563026140&k=Mp2hDqb">Order This Photo</a>

Forty Tales flies home to win the Woody Stephens.
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Coglianese Photos

Forty Tales Rallies to Woody Stephens Victory

Joel Rosario alters course in the stretch to guide Tale of the Cat colt to 8-1 upset.

Forty Tales looks like he may be the best 3-year-old sprinter in the country after rallying to victory in the $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) June 8 at Belmont Park (VIDEO).

Facing a field deep in established sprinting talent, Perretti Racing Stable's Forty Tales rocketed past five horses in the stretch to register a three-quarter-length victory. Hard-charging Declan's Warrior  edged third-place finisher Clearly Now by a head in the seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds completed in a solid 1:22.47 over a track just upgraded to fast after heavy overnight rain in New York.

"He's a real solid horse. He shows up and runs hard every time," said Pletcher after Forty Tales rallied to victory on a main track that saw four gate-to-wire winners earlier in the day. "The biggest concern was just how the racetrack was playing. We can't change his style at this point, so we just let him run his race and, fortunately, they went fast enough to come back to him today."

Pletcher has kept Forty Tales sprinting as the Tale of the Cat  colt entered Saturday's race off a narrow victory in the Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) at the one-turn mile distance at Churchill Downs. In the Woody Stephens, Forty Tales turned the tables on Clearly Now, who defeated him earlier this year in the Swale Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

"He's a tough horse, man," Pletcher said. "We're fortunate to have a lot of good 3-year-olds, and none of them are as brave as this one."

When the gates opened for the 11-horse field, undefeated California shipper Let Em Shine cleared the field starting from the outside post to register a sizzling quarter-mile in :21.99 and half-mile in :44.73 under regular rider Edwin Maldonado. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite off his win in the Came Home Stakes May 11 at Betfair Hollywood Park, Let Em Shine would be tested in the turn by Chick Lang Stakes winner Zee Bros, longshot Salutos Amigos, and Swale Stakes (gr. II) winner Clearly Now, pressing from the outside.

As Clearly Now appeared poised to take the top spot, Forty Tales, eighth at the three-eighths pole, soon found his best stride in the middle of the track. He surged past rivals in the stretch while Declan's Warrior rallied impressivley as well to claim second.

"He broke well and I started finding myself way behind, but I was hoping they were going quick enough so I could finish with him," said winning rider Joel Rosario. "He did everything right and just got the jump in the last minute. He really finished. He tried hard, the little horse, and everything set up perfect."

Forty Tales paid $19.80 to win, $8.50 to place, and $5.40 to show. Declan's Warrior returned $6.10 and $3.90. Clearly Now paid $4.10 to show. Forty Tales picked up his second stakes victory as he improved to four wins in six starts.

Bred in Kentucky by Randal Family Trust, Forty Tales is out of the Forty Niner mare Forty Love.