CLIFF HANGER S. | PURSE: $100,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD & UP | GRADE 3 | ONE-MILE (TURF)
The five-year-old gray gelding Tune Me In backed up his 25-1 upset of the Grade 3 Oceanport on July 29 with another triumph over the Monmouth Park turf course in Saturday's Grade 3, $99,000 Cliff Hanger.
A head behind Get Serious through splits of :24 1/5, :47 3/5 and 1:10 3/5, Tune Me In put that rival away in the stretch, opened up a length advantage passing the eighth pole and maintained that margin to the wire under Paco Lopez. After completing one mile in 1:33 4/5 over firm ground, Tune Me In paid $15.40, $5.20 and $2.20 as the 6-1 longest shot in a field of five.
"When you don't expect it, it's especially nice to win," winning trainer Bruce Alexander said. "In mid-stretch, you think you're vulnerable and they're going to close in, but in the last 50 yards he was actually getting a little space in between him and the contenders."
Salto, the former French mainstay making just his second start for trainer Todd Pletcher, rallied from last to edge Get Serious for second by a head as the 6-5 favorite. A half-length farther back was Lentenor, with Upgrade trailing the field. Admiral Perry and Glass Art were scratched.
Owned by Patricia Generazio, Tune Me In was an allowance-class runner prior to this season. He made his seasonal bow in June 10 John McSorley at Monmouth, finishing third going about 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. Seventh in a Belmont Park allowance next out, Tune Me In returned to Monmouth last time and registered the half-length upset in the Oceanport on Haskell Day. His record now stands at 21-4-7-4, $349,845.
"Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he's moved up to another level now," Alexander added.
Bred in Florida by Joseph and Helen Barbazon, the son of Concorde's Tune is out of the winning Court Trial mare Pleasant Courtney, who is a half-sister to stakes winners Bet the Sights and Joe's Lad. His second dam is stakes-placed scorer Sightseeing while his third dam, Window Card, produced multiple stakes hero Billy the Best.
Others of note in this female family include Grade 1 queen Colstar and Group/Grade 2 conquerors Montjoy and Wesley.