01/07/2012 7:10PM

Tampa Bay: Action Andy delivers in Pelican

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Tom Cooley Photography
Action Andy, ridden by 52-year-old Jesse Garcia, captures the Pelican for older sprinters.

Action Andy, ridden by 52-year-old jockey Jesse Garcia, rallied from slightly off the pace to win Saturday’s $60,000 Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

A 5-year-old gelding, whose previous stakes victory came going long  on turf in last summer’s Kitten’s Joy at Colonial Downs, Action Andy ($14) stalked in third as Tommy’s Mercury ran the first half-mile of the six-furlong Pelican in 44.28 seconds. Tommy’s Mercury still led with little more than a furlong remaining, but faded to seventh as Action Andy finished fast to draw clear by three lengths. Good Lord finished second, a half-length in front of 26-1 longshot Why Pretend. It’s Never to Late was never a factor and checked in fifth as the 8-5 favorite.

Action Andy completed the distance in 1:09.58, winning for the fifth time in 20 lifetime starts for trainer Carlos Garcia and owner Robert Garza. He prepped for the Pelican by finishing a troubled second in the local prep for the race on Dec. 14.

“I know this horse really well and Mr. Garcia has got him back in top form,” said Jesse Garcia, who is no relation to the trainer.  “In his last start, maybe he was too sharp. We got bumped early in the race and he still made a big run. Today he broke just right and I was able to settle him behind the leaders. I didn’t ask him until the middle of the turn and he just took off.”