02/16/2013 5:46PM

Tampa Bay: Swift Warrior gets up late in Tampa Bay Stakes

John Duca/Tom Cooley
Swift Warrior takes the Tampa Bay Stakes in a furious finish.

OLDSMAR, Fla. - Swift Warrior stalked a soft pace for more than six furlongs, then rallied smartly down the middle of the Tampa Bay turf course to emerge from a four-horse photo with a half-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Tampa Bay Stakes.

Under a well-judged ride by Jose Espinosa, Swift Warrior was content to sit fourth during the early stages as El Commodore set a leisurely pace that included a half-mile over a "good" turf course in 49.69 seconds and six furlongs in 1:13. Swift Warrior rallied four wide down the middle of the course through the final furlong to wear down the leaders for his second straight Grade 3 victory.

Trained by John Terranova, Swift Warrior covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.14 to post his sixth career win and pick up the $90,000 winner's share of the purse.

Alley Oop Oop, who had chased El Commodore from the start and looked like a winner entering the final furlong, finished in a dead heat with late-closing favorite Doubles Partner. A stubborn El Commodore was just another head back in fourth. Tiz Sardonic Joe, who had no clear racing room through much of the stretch, finished fifth.

Swift Warrior returned $7.20 as the second choice in the field of nine.