Leaving the Competition To Observe in the Sandpiper; Fervent and Unwavering in the Inaugural

December 3, 2023

Let Them Watch takes them all the way in the Sandpiper (Ben Baugh)

Let Them Watch Shows No Inhibitions in Victory; Patriotic Spirit Makes Staunch Statement in Inaugural

By Ben Baugh

OLDSMAR, Fla.— A Google search, a phone call and a familiar pedigree led to great things Saturday afternoon in the 46th running of the $100,000 6-furlong Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Let Them Watch was comfortable in her own skin, going gate-to-wire, scoring a ¾-length victory under the confident handling of jockey Hector Diaz Jr. Mike Maker conditions the daughter of Maximus Mischief

“She was the fastest horse in the race,” said Diaz Jr. “She always does (break good). She’s fast. I was confident that she was going to respond when I asked her. She kicked on and she kept going…the three (Chi Chi) was coming but she never quit on me.”

The OBS April 2-Year-old in Training Sales graduate is campaigned by Case and Kailey Chambers, who were in attendance for the juvenile filly’s second added money score. Let Them Watch was purchased from the consignment of Randy Miles. 

The Florida-bred filly had won her first two starts this summer at Gulfstream Park, before a lackluster effort at Keenland this fall. Diaz rode Let Them Watch in her first two trips to the winner’s circle, but the juvenile filly had a different rider aboard at Keenland this fall. 

”I love this horse,” said Diaz. “I didn’t ride the horse at Keeneland, but I was watching it. She didn’t seem to me like she was the same horse (in the Myrtlewood at Keeneland). It wasn’t anything that (Luis) Saez did wrong, it just wasn’t her day. When I rode her at Gulfstream and here, she just broke like a bullet. I feel grateful to (Mike) Maker and the owner. They’ve always been great with me. 

It was a propitious set of circumstances that led to the Chambers finding their way to the winner’s circle Saturday, one where technology and timing would play a role in their eventual success. 

“I was watching online (the OBS sale). said Chase Chambers. “My dad had horses a long time ago, a horse named Genuine Truth, they’re (Let Them Watch and Genuine Truth) very closely related. I’m watching the sale the whole time, I was thinking, ‘there’s no chance that I’m going to get her.’ I don’t want to spend more than $100,000, she comes through the ring, I don’t know what happened, she went for $55,000.”

Diaz was thrilled to be reunited with a horse that he’s come to know and appreciate. 

To the winner’s circle for Let Them Watch and connections (Ben Baugh)

“She’s not a horse that’s going to fight you, she’s going to do whatever you ask,” said Diaz. “I’m super happy, excited to be on a horse like that.”

Technology and timing would once again play a role in the Chambers’ and Let Them Watch’s future. 

“We had another trainer in Texas, she didn’t want to move up to Kentucky, and that’s what we wanted to do,” said Chambers. “We Googled Mike Maker’s number and he answered his phone.” 

Let Them Watch continues to evolve and her evolution suggested they would be ready coming into Saturday’s race. 

“I was confident in the horse,” said Chambers. “We took her out to the track and she continued to show progress week-after-week. She was winning workouts in the mornings. She won that first race and the Sharp Susan and we decided to take her up to Kentucky. We were actually going to run her at Kentucky Downs. That didn’t work out, she wasn’t feeling great that day.”

Patriot Spirit rolls home a winner in the Inaugural (Ben Baugh)

Amazing! That was the word Tampa Bay Downs leading rider and four-time riding champion Samy Camacho used to describe Patriot Spirit the winner of the 38th edition of the $100,000 6-furlong Inaugural Stakes Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, after the juvenile colt’s victory to trainer Michael Campbell

“The trip was perfect,” said Camacho. “Everybody was I put my horse in cruise control and he did everything. In the clear on the outside in perfect position, in good stalking position. He did everything. He’s a great horse. He’s amazing. Thank you to Mike Campbell for the opportunity. 

The son of Tapit demonstrated his prowess in a 1 ½-length victory, exhibiting poise and confidence, something a calm and collected Camacho felt was inevitable. The bay colt and OBS graduate races in the silks of Mellon Patch Inc. 

Patriot Spirit visits the winner’s circle (Ben Baugh)

It was Patriot Spirit’s fourth career start, with his last two races coming in stakes company. The colt broke his maiden at first asking. The result was what Campbell expected. 

“He’s a very nice horse, I always thought from the moment I bought him, this horse will take me to Kentucky, I think he will,” said Campbell.

“Time will tell. This is atypical for me. I don’t believe in taking horses to stakes premature, before they win an a other than, particularly when the a other thans at Churchill are $140,000. But this horse is so talented. He does things that I’ve never seen a horse do before. When he worked :57 the other day, I only worked him a half, he galloped out in :57, and then he galloped out 1:11 1/5. I told George (Mellon), this is a really special horse. Now we have to see how special.”

Contributing Authors

Ben Baugh

Ben Baugh has been writing about Thoroughbred racing for more than 25 years. A past winner of the Raleigh Burroughs Award, his work has appeared...

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