by Mike Henry

Three seasons ago, David and Sharon Hinsley turned down “a substantial offer” for then-2-year-old filly You Bought Her, a Florida-bred they had purchased for $18,000 through their Hinsley Racing Stable (with partner Richard Perkins of Illinois) at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring 2-Year-Old Sale.

Their decision to keep the daughter of Graeme Hall-Striking T, by Smart Strike, seemed to have backfired disastrously when You Bought Her had her heels clipped from behind by another runner in the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes, causing her to fall.

Although she made an additional start as a juvenile, it took her until March of her 4-year-old season to win again, in an allowance/$16,000 optional claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs.

“We had to take a chip out of her ankle after the Arlington stakes, and it took her about a year to get over it,” David recalled.

But the Hinsleys have been involved in racing long enough to learn that extreme patience is often rewarded. That certainly was the case in today’s $50,000 Minaret Stakes, as the 5-year-old mare rallied from far back to defeat heavy favorite R Free Roll by a half-length in six-furlong time of 1:09.92, .24 seconds off the track record.

It was the first stakes victory for You Bought Her, now 6-for-28 lifetime, and first-place money of $30,000 raised her career earnings to $213,678. She paid $35.40 to win. It also was the first career stakes victory for 23-year-old jockey Brian Pedroza, who had ridden her to a second-place finish four weeks earlier here in the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes on the turf.

“This is a wonderful, hard-trying mare,” Pedroza said. “Turf, dirt, long, short, she runs her race. Mr. Hinsley told me to get her to the outside when I wanted run, so I was happy with the way the race unfolded. We were just three wide on the turn, and when I asked her she really turned it on. She really wanted to get past the leader.”

The Hinsleys felt confident in You Bought Her entering the race. “Speed had been backing up today, and we thought she had a good shot to at least pick up a check,” said David Hinsley, You Bought Her’s trainer of record.

“We told Brian to keep her outside, because you don’t want to be in a box where you can’t go anywhere. She started moving up on her own, and when they turned for home he asked her to run and they got the job done.”

“We didn’t care if Brian waited until the eighth pole to move her, but we’re glad he didn’t wait that long,” Sharon Hinsley said. “The turf race sharpened her up for this one. She is probably better going seven furlongs.”

You Bought Her is the first stakes winner out of her dam, Striking T.

Puddifoot settled for third after threatening on the far turn, four-and-a-half lengths in back of R Free Roll. J’s Two Step Halo finished fourth.

Antonio Gallardo, the jockey on R Free Roll, offered no excuses.

“She ran her race. She is fast getting underway and was comfortable with the pace through the turn,” Gallardo said. “She was still trying late, but the winner just ran us down.”

Today’s late $1 winning Pick-4 combination of 3-4-8-10 paid a whopping $62,495.90. There is  a Pick-5 carryover pool entering Sunday of $23,333.74.

Three other races on today’s card also merit mention in this space, starting with the ninth race, a one-mile allowance/$32,000 optional claiming event on the turf for fillies and mares. The 5-year-old mare Donna’s Fly Girl, with Ademar Santos riding, defeated the favored Ceisteach for the victory, paying $26.40 to win.

Donna’s Fly Girl is owned by Donna Fulks and trained by Gerald R. Aschinger.

A slight drop in class was all Charlie’s Brother needed to return to the winner’s circle for the first time since October in today’s third race. The 3-year-old Florida-bred colt, stakes-placed in his previous three starts, edged away from Alex the Terror late to win by a neck in excellent time of 1:22.77 for the seven furlongs.

The top two dueled through fractions of 22.39 for the quarter-mile, 44.96 for the half and 1:09.32 for six furlongs before the winner prevailed in the allowance/$75,000 optional claiming contest. Charlie’s Brother – second in the Inaugural Stakes and third in the Pasco Stakes locally – is owned by Stanley S. Moles and Starr Stables, LLC and trained by Lynne M. Scace.

Trainer Dale Bennett appears to have a rapid learner in 3-year-old filly Distorted Type, who improved to 2-for-2 in the first race in her first try around two turns.

Five weeks after capturing her debut winning at seven furlongs, Distorted Type held off a late threat from stakes-placed Innovative Idea to win the Lambholm South Race of the Week by a length-and-a-half in 1:41.82 for the mile-and-40-yard distance. Pablo Morales rode the Kentucky-bred winner, who is owned by John Santina’s Savoy Stable, LLC.

Thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs resumes Sunday with a 10-race card beginning at 12:40 p.m. The track is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker action in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.

Looking ahead. Reserved seats are available for the March 7 Festival Day celebration, featuring the 35th edition of the Grade II, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-olds. The race is part of Churchill Downs’ Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands points series.

Also on tap are a pair of graded turf stakes – the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade III, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares – and the $60,000 Challenger Stakes for older horses.

For information on seating, call the Admissions Department at (813) 855-4401.