More than 18 months on the sidelines hasn’t dulled the brilliant speed of Tea Party Stable’s homebred Fabulous Strike. He made a successful return to competition in the $42,560 Vambourine Purse, a six-furlong allowance race, April 9 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania (VIDEO).
The 8-year old gelding, a multiple grade I winner and the earner of more than $1.4 million dollars, led wire-to-wire in his first start since running second to Kodiak Kowboy as the 3-5 favorite in the Vosburgh Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park on October 3, 2009.
Despite a sloppy track as a result of heavy rains April 8, trainer Todd Beattie and owner Walter Downey decided it was time for Fabulous Strike to make his return. The Smart Strike -- Fabulous Find gelding underwent stem cell therapy for a tendon problem at the New Bolton Center at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 and has been in training for the past five months.
Penn National’s leading rider Dana Whitney hustled Fabulous Strike from the starting gate and the pair led four rivals through an opening quarter in :22.08 and half-mile in :44.58. Whitney kept the Pennsylvania-bred to a steady drive to the wire as they beat stakes winner Peppi Knows, who had pressed the pace from the break. The 4-5 betting favorite, Fabulous Strike scored by two lengths in 1:09.53.
“His best races haven’t come over sloppy tracks, but he was ready to run tonight,” Beattie said. “He needed a good race and Mr. Downey and I are both very pleased with the results. When things settle down tomorrow, we’ll look ahead – perhaps at the Vincent Moscarelli at Delaware Park, or something at Belmont Park. He loves that track.”
The victory gave Fabulous Strike a career record of 15 wins and five seconds from 25 lifetime starts, with 12 of those wins coming in stakes. The winner’s share of $27,360 April 9 raised his career earnings to $1,451,972.