02/16/2008 12:00AM

Why Tonto upsets stablemate Cowboy Cal


\HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Why Tonto turned the tables on his more-heralded stablemate Cowboy Cal, rallying to a convincing 1 1/2-length victory over the 1-2 favorite in Saturday's $100,000 Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Cowboy Cal defeated Why Tonto by a comfortable two lengths when the pair met for the first time in Calder's Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby on New Year's Day. Pletcher had tried to enter Why Tonto in a pair of second-level allowance races here last week and does have him entered in a similar allowance race on the turf on Wednesday.

"We had thought about scratching Why Tonto today to run Wednesday," said Pletcher. "But I spoke with owner Jack Wolf this morning and he decided the weather is clear and the turf course is in good shape today, so why not take another shot at Cowboy Cal?"

Cowboy Cal was headstrong right from the start of the 1o1/16-mile Hallandale Beach, sprinting to the lead from his inside post while bearing out around the opening turn. Cowboy Cal set lively fractions of 22.85 seconds, 46.12, and 1:09.66 while pressed for the lead by Why Tonto from the outset. Cowboy Cal continued wide into the stretch, giving his stablemate ample room to take control and then edge clear in the final furlong. Cannonball raced forwardly but had no rally and finished a tiring third.

"I'm not surprised Why Tonto ran so well," said Pletcher. "I was disappointed Cowboy Cal didn't settle, and knew after the opening quarter-mile that it was going to be a bit of a challenge for him to win. He's always been pretty headstrong but not like today."

Why Tonto, a son of Indian Charlie owned by Wolf's Starlight Stable, Don Lucarelli and Paul Saylor, covered the distance in 1:40.20 over a firm course and paid $13.40.