Inspectory Lynley got his 2017 season off on the right hoof with a victory in the Tampa Bay S. Away well from his rail draw, the bay saved ground in fourth just off the heels of the pacesetters through an opening quarter in :23.45 and a half in :47.80. Tipped out two-wide by John Velazquez in early stretch, he immediately inhaled the leading duo and kept on finding to hold off a late bid from Kasaqui.

“The last time I rode him [in the Tropical Park Derby Dec. 31], the horse inside of us stepped out in front of us right at the gate and my horse stumbled, and I lost all chance to place him where I wanted,” said Velazquez. “We broke well enough today to get in good position, and once I got running room in the stretch I knew we had it.”

“He’s his own worst enemy sometimes,” said Robbie Medina, assistant to Shug McGaughey. “He’s kind of a clown. He’s always better when he gets into the flow of the race and gets into the bridle, and all the races where he has been forwardly placed, he runs very well. This was his first time against older horses, so it was a big step up for him.”

Graduating at fourth asking over the Gulfstream lawn a year and five days ago, Inspector Lynley checked in third in the GIII Transylvania S. at Keeneland two months later and finished a disappointing sixth next out in a Belmont optional claimer last May. Improving to second next out in Elmont June 3, he closed well to be third in Delaware’s GIII Kent S. July 16 and returned to winning ways with a narrow decision in Saratoga’s GIII Saranac S. Sept. 3. Making a five-wide move to be sixth in Belmont’s GIII Hill Prince S. Oct. 8, the homebred closed out his sophomore campaign with a late-running fifth in Gulfstream’s Tropical Park Derby Dec. 31.

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