Doubles Partner made up five lengths in the final furlong to score a thrilling neck victory in the $125,000 Tampa Bay S. (G3) on March 19 (WATCH VIDEO). It was the second career stakes victory for the WinStar owned colt, whose previous added money win came in the Grade 2 American Turf last April at Churchill Downs.
Settled in seventh for the first six furlongs, Doubles Partner was five wide coming into the stretch and was still in sixth in mid-stretch. With a well-timed move by Julien Leparoux, the bay accelerated quickly to get to the front in deep stretch. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles on the firm turf was 1:40.67, good for a Beyer Speed Figure of 95.
Michael McCarthy, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher, said he was very pleased by Doubles Partner’s win. “I thought it was textbook the way it shaped up. He was able to find some cover up the backside, and obviously bided his time around the turn. He was a little late switching leads, but he came home strong.” McCarthy added that Pletcher hopes to start Doubles Partner at Churchill Downs over Kentucky Derby weekend.
Winning jockey Julien Leparoux said he enjoyed his first trip to Tampa. "I had heard how good the turf course is here and Doubles Partner just loved it. Today he relaxed very nicely for me and I just let him settle behind the lead group; then when I asked him for run nearing the stretch he responded and was suddenly going past the leaders. There were three of us at the finish but I never doubted he was the winner."
With the win, Doubles Partner is now 4-1-1 in 10 starts, with earnings of $299,890. He was bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton.