Making his third start since returning to Pompano Park after a winter campaign at the Meadowlands, D’artagnan captured the premier event for older Florida-bred pacers on Saturday when taking the sixth annual $65,000 Red Bow Tie Invitational in 1:53.2.
Guided from post three by Dan Clements, D’artagnan showed little interest in the early stages of the Red Bow Tie, dropping back to seventh place before angling out third-over as Lover Boy Le Ru (Daryl Bier), and then Paper Exchange (Bruce Ranger), cut opening fractions of :27.2 and :57.
“When Peter Wrenn left (from post eight) with Flight of Glory I was pretty happy about that,” Clements said following his winning drive. “I was glad to let him in, and just stuck to his helmet the whole way around.”
Intent on tracking the cover provided by both Ace Mactavish (George Napolitano Jr.) and Flight of Glory, D’artagnan continued to make a steady advance towards Paper Exchange as the leader retained a half-length advantage through a three-quarters split in 1:25.2.
Flight of Glory wrestled the top spot away from a weakening Paper Exchange on the final turn and entered the lane with a one-length lead, but his time on the front would prove short-lived as D’artagnan rolled four-wide down the center of the track to take command of the race in mid-stretch, sprinting clear of his rivals in the final yards to score by 4 ½ lengths.
“I really didn’t have a plan going in,” Clements added. “I just knew that I wanted to follow someone. I never even asked my horse for his best. He did everything on his own. He was just unbelievable tonight and (trainer) Veral (Bowman) had him in great shape.”
The Red Bow Tie marked just the third time that Clements was at the lines of D’artagnan, a winner in 15 of 36 career starts.
“I raced him a little bit last week and ended up first over when going against a field of good older horses,” Clements said. “He was strong to the wire that day and I thought if we could work out the right trip tonight, we would be fine. Everything just worked out great.”
D’artagnan returned $3.80, $2.20, and $2.60 for the victory. Flight of Glory brought in $4.00 and $5.00 for second, while Stylish Glory (Joe Pavia Jr.) paid $21.60 for third. Paper Exchange, Lover Boy Le Ru, Splenda, Scoot to Victory, Hearty Fellow, and Ace Mactavish completed the order of finish.
Owned by Frank and Inge Smith, and trainer Veral Bowman, D’artagnan is a 4-year-old son of Mean Mr Mustard, out of the Cam’s Card Shark mare Allamerican Taboo, and was bred by Amelia Williams.
“We’ll probably start him here again, and then take him back to the Meadowlands,” Bowman said following the race. “He was good last year and seems to be getting better with age.”
With his victory in the Red Bow Tie, D’artagnan now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $152,550.