Masterfully handled by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, 2-1 second choice Tom’s Tribute got the jump on even-money favored Eastern invader Summer Front and scored an impressive triumph Sunday in the Grade I $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.
Normally a stretch-runner, Tom’s Tribute was placed comfortably in second by Smith behind the pacesetting Horizontalyspeakin in the early stages of the nine-furlong grass test, while Summer Front, with Joe Bravo up, followed a couple of lengths farther back in third.
Tom’s Tribute moved authoritatively into the stretch to take command and then held off the late charge of Summer Front to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:46.01 for the distance. The winner shaded 12 seconds for the last furlong to ensure the victory, worth $180,000 to his owner, the Braly Family Trust.
Spring Up, sent postward at 8-1 under Corey Nakatani, ran well to be third, a length behind the runner-up and 2 ¼ lengths in front of fourth-place Horizontalyspeakin in the field of six horses. Unbridled Command and Cogito completed the line-up.
Tom’s Tribute, a four-year-old chestnut son of Lion Heart trained by Jim Cassidy, scored his fifth win in a dozen starts and now has earnings of $422,880. For Smith, it was his 11th Grade I success at Del Mar.
Tom’s Tribute returned $6.60, $3.20 and $2.80, while Summer Front, the betting choice on the basis of his sterling record and a runner-up finish to Obviously in the recent Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita, paid $2.40 and $2.20. Spring Up returned $3.80 to show.
Sunday’s attendance was 21,660.