While the margin of victory was just a neck over fast-closing Beat the Heat, Fortified Effort got home first in the $52,368 ATBA Fall Sales Stakes Colts and Geldings division at Turf Paradise on Dec. 28, rewarding his backers who had bet him down to 1-20 in the four-horse field.
Leading from the start, the 4-year-old Ez Effort gelding dueled with fellow Kevin Eikleberry trainee Loud N Proud through the early stages of the race, as Beat the Heat trailed the field by a lengthy margin. Entering the stretch, Fortified Effort dispensed with Loud N Proud only to have Beat the Heat bear down on him late.
The final time for the “about” six and a half-furlong distance was 1:15.60.
Bred by Fleming Thoroughbred Farm, Fortified Effort runs for the group of J. Lloyd Yother, William Matthews, Marvin Fleming and trainer Eikleberry.