Tribal Gal Runs Away With Oak Tree Distaff

By Chuck Dybdal
PLEASANTON, Calif. – Tribal Gal ($28) proved the quickest early and was uncatchable as she sped to an easy victory Saturday in the $100,870 Oak Tree Distaff for Golden State Series eligible fillies and mares at the  Oak Tree at Pleasanton meet.

"She broke in a bit and then had the six [Handful of Pearls] beside her, but I just let her do her thing," said 18-year-old Ricardo Gonzalez, who notched his first stakes victory after a pair of seconds at the Golden Gate Fields meeting.

Tribal Gal, a 4-year-old daughter of Tribal Rules, set the pace in the California Wine Stakes here last year before fading.

But she was sharp and at the top of her game in Saturday's Cal-bred sprint stakes.

She led Handful of Pearls by a head through a 21.65-second opening quarter as Gonzalez simply sat still. She was a length ahead at the quarter pole and still running strong as Handful of Pearls, a claimer who gave Russell Baze his 12,000th victory here last year, began to fade.

"At the quarter pole, she took off," Gonzalez said of Tribal Gal. "When she got there, she was full of run."

Unusual Way, who sat in third early, moved into second in the lane but was never a match for Tribal Gal. She defeated Unusual Way by 3 1/4 lengths, winning in 1:09.25. The favored Top Kisser ran third, another 1 1/2 lengths back, with Brilliant Melody fourth.

Although there was good speed in the race, Gonzalez said, "I knew my filly would take the lead."

Tribal Gal, owned and bred by John Pendergast, was saddled by Ryan Kenny for trainer Kory Owens.

She earned $60,050 for her fourth stakes win and seventh career victory, increasing her bankroll to $256,505.