02/12/2011 7:54PM

Tackleberry pulls another surprise in Gulfstream Sprint

Adam Coglianese
Tackleberry, back just two weeks after upsetting the Sunshine Millions Classic, beats odds-on favorite Soaring Empire in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The amazing Tackleberry did it again.

Two weeks after posting a 27-1 shocker in the $500,000 Sunshine Millions Classic, Tackleberry returned to upset the 4-5 Soaring Empire by two lengths in Saturday’s 150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship Stakes.

Tackleberry, who is owned and trained by Luis Olivares, benefited from a perfect ride by Javier Santiago. Soaring Empire, on the other hand, had an eventful day, beginning when he reared in the gate and tossed jockey Jose Lezcano to the ground just prior to the start.

Tackleberry broke alertly to stalk the pace of longshot Gaucho, gained the lead entering the stretch, edged well clear, and was not seriously menaced thereafter. Soaring Empire broke last from his inside post once Lezcano had remounted and the field was dispatched, raced unhurried at the rear of the pack for more than a half-mile, then rallied belatedly to narrowly outfinish Caixa Eletronica by a nose for second.

Tackleberry, a son of Montbrooke, completed seven furlongs in 1:22.84 over a fast track and returned $10.80. The win was the sixth in the last seven starts for Tackleberry, who increased his lifetime earnings to more than $$577,000.

“He just loves to run,” said Olivares. “He came bouncing out of his last race ready to do something the next day. I told my jock to stay second, up close. It didn’t hurt that the one horse [Soaring Empire] broke bad either.”

Olivares said he would look at the Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 12 for Tackleberry’s next start.