Outta Tune holds them off in the Count Fleet at Oaklawn.

Outta Tune holds them off in the Count Fleet at Oaklawn.

Coady Photography/Oaklawn Park

Outta Tune Hits Right Note in Count Fleet

Seven-year-old gelding grabs first graded stakes with determined effort at Oaklawn.

Outta Tune, claimed for $5,000 last summer, became a graded stakes winner when he outlasted Apriority in the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park April 14 (VIDEO).

A 7-year-old by Jump Start , Outta Tune notched his fourth consecutive win during the Oaklawn meet and his 17th victory overall in 44 starts. Since he was claimed at Prairie Meadows last July by trainer Chris Richard on behalf of Maggi Moss, Outta Tune has won five of eight starts.

Ridden by Terry Thompson, 4-1 shot Outta Tune defeated Apriority by a half-length with Hamazing Destiny a neck farther back in third. The final time was 1:09.35 on  fast track.

“I thought he had a good chance, but what he showed today was unexpected," Richard said. "We went through a lot to get where we are today. We knew he was a nice horse at 3 and 4. He deserves all the credit today.”

Just six contested the six-furlong Count Fleet with red-hot mare Izzy Rules made the 4-5 favorite. Trainer Jeff Bonde, who won last year's Count Fleet with Smiling Tiger, was looking for back-to-back victories in the race with Izzy Rules, who had not been headed in her past four starts in Southern California.

Izzy Rules quickly sped to the front out of the gate on the inside and led Outta Tune, ridden by Terry Thompson, comfortably after a swift quarter-mile in :22.11 and the half in :45.12. Outta Tune moved up to challenge Izzy Rules late on the turn with Silver Magnus and Hamazing Destiny also in contention.

Outta Tune put his head in front in the stretch between horses and battled with Silver Magnus on the inside and Hamazing Destiny, ridden by Jon Court, on his outside as Izzy Rules weakened. Apriority, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, came five wide into the stretch to challenge as well.

Apriority drew even with Outta Tune near the furlong pole but drifted out in the drive for the wire and was outfinished by a game Outta Tune who proved best under strong handling.

"We were in an ideal spot," Thompson said. "(Izzy Rules) broke and took the lead like we had talked about. I laid just off of her. At the top of the stretch, I asked him and he responded. It came down to the wire and he was able to hold off (Apriority). I knew it would come right down to the wire.”

The victory was worth $150,000 to Outta Tune, who has banked $386,663 in his career. Bred in Kentucky by John O'Meara, the dark bay/brown gelding is out of the El Prado mare Prado's Tune.

Outta Tune was coming off a 3 3/4-length victory in an allowance/optional claiming race at six furlongs March 25. He was competing in starter allowance company before that.

Under 115 pounds, Outta Tune paid $10.80, $4, and $3 as the third choice. Apriority, the 118-pound high weight, returned $3.40 and $3 as the second favorite and completed a $36.40 exacta. The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Hamazing Destiny paid $3.20 to show.

Silver Magnus was one length father back in fourth, followed by Izzy Rules and Our Dark Knight.

"This track was different than this mare was used to," jockey Edwin Maldonado said of Izzy Rules. "When I asked her to run there on the turn, she started struggling and never really did get to going again."