Tarabilla Farms Inc.’s Melatonin has beaten the odds not only on the track, but in life. Shortly after being purchased privately out of his impressive maiden win at Santa Anita in February 2014, the Kodiak Kowboy gelding was diagnosed with Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) and spent the next 18 months battling this serious disease. He was a longshot to return the races, let alone become a multiple Grade 1 winner.
Yet, Melatonin did beat the odds and won his first race back at a price of 30-1 in August 2015 at Del Mar. He made three more starts that year, all sprints, with his best finish coming in the Grade 3 Eddie D. Stakes at Santa Anita.
“We had to kick him out to the farm and run a series of medications through him and give him plenty of time, and he’s come back quite strong from it, which is unusual,” said trainer David Hofmans, who added other Grade 1 winners in his barn have bounced back from EPM, but not had been as ill as Melatonin. “He really has blossomed this year. Once we got him back in 2015, each race he got a little stronger and little more mature. And every jockey who rode him told me, ‘Man, this horse wants to run long.’”
Hofmans decided to listen to the riders, and after giving his trainee a little break, he entered him in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race in February and Melatonin once again beat his 10-1 odds with a 3 ¼ length victory. Stepped up to Grade 1 competition in Santa Anita Handicap for his next start, he once again responded for a front-running triumph at 16-1 under Joe Talamo.
Melatonin has also added a win in the Grade 1 Gold Cup to his resume this year, and although he probably won’t go favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he’s a horse who has proven time and time again that he can outrun any odds.