03/13/2016 5:48PM

Turco Bravo upsets Stymie for second time

Chelsea Durand/NYRA
Turco Bravo pays $42.40 for winning the Stymie under Manny Franco.

There’s something about the Stymie Stakes that brings out the best in Turco Bravo.

After winning this race last year as the 9-1 longest shot in a five-horse field, Turco Bravo did it again on Sunday, rallying from last under Manny Franco to win the $125,000 Stymie by a length over Dontbetwithbruno, the 8-5 favorite. At 20-1, Turco Bravo returned $42.40 for a $2 win bet.

Meanwhile, Madefromlucky who was seeking to give trainer Todd Pletcher his 4,000th career victory, finished third. He was followed by Our Caravan, Stormin Monarcho,  and Indycott.

Since winning last year’s Stymie, Turco Bravo, a 7-year-old Chilean-bred gelding, had lost eight consecutive races, including a third-place finish in an optional claiming race here on Feb. 20 in which he was eligible to be claimed for $62,500.

Contessa said he was going to run Turco Bravo for a claiming price again but after watching the horse train following that race, he convinced Steve Sigler of Winning Move to pay a $1,250 supplemental fee to make Turco Bravo eligible for this race.

“He came out of the race so good and trained so good I said ‘let’s take a shot,’ ” Contessa said by phone from Gulfstream Park.

Breaking from the outside post in the Stymie, Manny Franco dragged Turco Bravo back to last and moved him to the inside going into the first turn. Stormin Monarcho, under Jose Ortiz, set the pace while being stalked by Dontbetwithbruno, under Junior Alvarado, through a half-mile in 48.15 seconds.

Midway up the backside, Franco made an inside move on Turco Bravo to get within two lengths of the lead going into the far turn.

Turning into the stretch, Franco got Turco Bravo off the inside and tipped him into the three path. Madefromlucky was to his outside and Dontbetwithbruno, on his inside, was drifting out a little bit. But Franco kept Turco Bravo going undeterred and he outfinished Dontbetwithbruno to the wire.

“It was a brilliant ride by Manny Franco,” Contessa said. “I thought we’d be laying one-two-three. You could see coming out of the gate it was his idea to take him back.”

Franco said Contessa told him “to watch what they were going to do in the beginning of the race and I saw a couple of horses go to the lead. So I thought I'd give [Turco Bravo] a chance and go with him little by little from the half-mile and get to the wire. He responded really good. He was perfect behind [horses] and I just tried to get my horse to kick and he did."

Turco Bravo covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.96 over a fast inner track.