Isabella Sings scores Endeavour Stakes victory

OLDSMAR, Fla. -- Isabella Sings has become a fan favorite with her brazen front-running style. On Saturday, her popularity was evidenced by her $3 win mutuel after the 5-year-old mare opened a clear lead and never looked back in winning the 18th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Endeavour Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

It was the last of four straight stakes on Festival Preview Day at Tampa Bay Downs.

Ridden by John Velazquez, Isabella Sings put her superior speed to use as the field straightened out of the infield chute and onto the course proper for the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Ahead by five or six lengths down the backstretch, only Light In Paris could come within striking distance by the time Isabella Sings straightened for home. As Velazquez gave her a few waves of his right-handed whip, Isabella Sings continued resolutely, prevailing by three lengths. Evidently was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.

Isabella Sings finished in 1:41.07 over a firm turf. Bred and owned by Siena Farm, the 5-year-old daughter of Eskendereya now has won 8 of 20 starts and has earned $628,170.

"We've talked about trying to slow her down many times, ever since I began riding her as a 2-year-old," Velazquez said. "But she'd throw her head and try to fight you, so we just decided to let her be the way she is."

For Velazquez, the victory gave him a sweep of the day's twin turf stakes for older horses, following his off-the-pace triumph aboard Inspector Lynley an hour earlier in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes.

The field was reduced from 11 to seven fillies and mares following the early scratches of Elysea's World, No Fault of Mine, Josdesanimaux, and Frosty Friday.

The $2 exacta (5-1) paid $6.20, the $1 trifecta (5-1-6) returned $23, and the 10-cent superfecta (5-1-6-10) was worth $15.53.