Not This Time’s Sibelius set himself up for a repeat trip to Dubai with his hard-fought win in Saturday’s Pelican S. at Tampa Bay Downs.
Sibelius, who won the 2023 Pelican as well, is looking to duplicate his victory in last year’s $2 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), a race he won in dramatic fashion.
Sibelius won Saturday’s six-furlong race despite a four-wide trip the journey. He sat a few lengths off the pace on the backstretch, made up some ground around the turn, then wore down Mish in deep stretch to win by a neck in 1:08.90 on a fast track.
The time was a new stakes record and just 0.23 off the track record.
“When I turned for home, I thought I had a good target (Mish) and when my horse was ready to go I asked him and he came through for me,” said winning rider Junior Alvarado. “The other horse put up a good fight, but I always knew that I had him.”
Sibelius, who has also won the last two runnings of the Mr. Prospector S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park, is now 9-3-3 in 24 starts and has earned $1,789,751. The 6-year-old is owned by Jun H. Park and Delia Nash and was bred in Kentucky by Taylor Brothers Properties LLC, Pollock Farms, Patrick Payne, et al.
Sibelius was one of two stakes winners on Saturday’s card at Tampa Bay Downs for Not This Time, coming about an hour prior to No More Time’s breakthrough win in the Sam F. Davis S. (G3).