Friday, April 29, 2022
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Trainer Diane Morici has always had a way with older horses – blessed with the knack of helping under-achieving racehorses reach their full potential.
The South Florida-based trainer’s most high-profile successes came with Eldaafer, whom she saddled for an upset win in the 2010, Gr. III Breeders’ Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs, as well as a victory in the 2009, Gr. II Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont.
Mastic Beach Racing’s Tune In is Morici’s latest success story. The 6-year-old gelding will seek to add to that success in today’s Race 5, a one-turn-mile starter allowance for horses that have raced for a claiming price of $20,000 or less. The son of Country Day has won five of his last six races at the one-mile distance, his only loss coming in a third-place finish at Churchill Downs in which he lost by just half-length.
“I think that’s his specialty, and I love his [outside] post position,” Morici said. “The last few times he’s been breaking from the inside and they’ve been breathing on him. I think this time he’s on the outside and he can breathe on them if he has to.”
Tune In, who will break from the No. 7 post in a field of seven older horses, will be ridden by Leonel Reyes after a one-race absence. “He always gives me 120 percent. He always gives me a chance to win,” Morici said.
Reyes, who escaped injury in a spill in Thursday’s opening race, didn’t make the trip to Tampa Bay Downs on March 12 for Tune In’s subpar showing at 1 1/16 miles while stepping up to graded stakes company in the two-turn Gr. III Challenger on March 22.
“That last race, everybody got humbled a little bit, but we gave him a shot,” Morici said.
Success didn’t come easy for Tune In, who had won two of his first seven starts, including a debut victory at Keeneland in a $20,000 maiden claimer in April 2019. He was transferred to Morici in February 2020 very much in need of time and attention.
“I got him in February, and he didn’t run until October. I got to tell you it was rough the first couple months. He had his foot issues, but I gave him the time,” Morici said. “He tells you when he’s ready.”
After racing competitively in his first three starts for Morici, Tune In went on to win his next four starts, including two scores on turf. His only subpar showings have come around two turns in the Challenger and the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel, in which he was coming off only three-weeks between races
Rainbow 6 Jackpot Hit
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The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot pool was hit for a $182,098 payoff Thursday. The multi-race wager had gone unsolved for five days following a $220,289 jackpot hit on April 16. The single ticket sold had the winning combination of 9-3-6-1-4-10.