02/01/2014 6:59PM

Tampa Bay Stakes: Guys Reward pulls $31 upset

Tom Keyser
In his third start following a long layoff, Guys Reward wins the Tampa Bay Stakes under jockey Abdiel Jaen.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – The first and only time Guys Reward ran at Tampa Bay Downs during his lengthy career, the horse was never a factor when finishing ninth nearly two years ago.

Unfazed, owner Mike Bruder gave Tampa another chance when having trainer Dale Romans send the 7-year-old horse from the Palm Meadows training center – and boy is he glad he did. Guys Reward, charging from last with Abdiel Jaen aboard, posted a 14-1 upset Saturday in the 28th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes.

Salto, the 1-2 favorite, had taken full command after turning for home in the 1 1/16-mile turf race and appeared en route to victory before Guys Reward came flying past. The winner returned $31.60 after finishing in 1:43.44 over a yielding course.

Salto finished 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner and another three-quarters of a length before Golden Sabre in a field of nine older horses.

Guys Reward, purchased by Bruder as a yearling, now has won 8 of 41 starts and earned just more than $650,000. The horse was off for nearly a year after incurring a hoof injury following the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs in November 2012, and the Tampa Bay marked his third start since his return.

“It just took us a while to get him right,” said Bruder, a retired businessman from Evansville, Ind.

Jaen, 32, has become a regular at Gulfstream and Calder after riding in Saudi Arabia from 2005-10.

The $2 exacta (1-6) paid $57.60, the $1 trifecta (1-6-7) returned $131.10, and the 10-cent superfecta (1-6-7-4) was worth $63.08.

Suncoast: Please Explain pulls away

Earlier Saturday, Please Explain ($5) charged through a rail opening after turning home to be a six-length winner under Julien Leparoux in the $66,000 Suncoast Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Owned by Niall Racing and trained by Tom Proctor, Please Explain finished a mile and 40 yards in 1:44.94 over a fast track. A homebred daughter of Curlin, she was coming off an equally dominating maiden win at Gulfstream Park in her fourth career start and first around two turns.

Nesso finished second and Light Bringer was third. Four fillies were early scratches, leaving a field of eight.

Proctor said a stakes at Fair Grounds or Oaklawn Park would be a likely next start for Please Explain.