02/13/2016 6:16PM

Reload by a neck in Tampa Bay Stakes

Tom Keyser
Reload, with Javier Castellano aboard, outfinishes Take the Stand to win the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes on Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Reload gave his backers some anxious moments in the stretch of the Grade 3, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, rallying from seventh place early to get up by a neck over 61-1 longshot Take the Stand. It was the second stakes win for Reload, who won the Grade 3 Canadian Turf at Gulfstream Park in February 2014.

Reload and jockey Javier Castellano raced in seventh place early in the 1 1/16-mile race as Spark Kit took the field of 10 older horses through an opening quarter-mile in a snappy 23.15 seconds and Take the Stand took over the lead through a half-mile in 46.65. Reload ($8.20) rallied three wide around the final turn and dug in for the stretch battle with Take the Stand, narrowly prevailing in 1:40.15 on a firm turf course.

Robbie Medina, an assistant to winning trainer Shug McGaughey, said he thought the margin of victory should have been larger.

“I thought he ran great,” Medina said. “I was a little worried because he was a little farther back than he normally is, but going down the backside, I saw Javier had plenty of horse and had him out in the clear. He looked like he was going to win a little easily, but that’s his personality. He just kind of stayed with that horse on the inside. That’s just the way he is. I was a little worried because he does have a tendency to hang a little bit, but he’s a 7-year-old horse, so he’s got kind of a mind of his own.”

“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano said. “I wanted to be a little bit closer today, but fortunately the pace was quick enough. I had a perfect trip, saving all the ground. Turning for home, I knew I was going to win the race.”

Karibu Gardens finished third and was followed by Sky Captain, Old Time Hockey, Special Envoy, A Lot, the favored War Correspondent, Solemn Tribute, and Spark Kit.  

Reload, a 7-year-old Hard Spun horse and a homebred for the Phipps Stable, has won eight of 23 starts for $552,504. Saturday’s race was his first since a third-place finish in the $100,000 Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct in November.