That was the performance of the year!
OK, so maybe 2012 is only two weeks young, but still, you get the idea. Tapizar’s performance today in winning the Grade 2 San Fernando Stakes was bigger than the task Tim Tebow has tonight in New England.
Breaking from the outside post in the field of seven, the four-year-old son of Tapit was hustled out of the gate by veteran rider Corey Nakatani. The problem was, so were three other horses to his inside. It would prove to be no problem for Tapizar. With his high turn of speed, the good lucking bay colt was able to clear the inside logjam before the field started to turn for the first time. Looking like he might have been easily hung out well wide, instead he used his flashy speed to carry him to a clear lead on the outside, midway on the first turn.
Full of run early, Nakatani needed to cool his jets just a little bit to get the Steve Asmussen trained colt relaxed on the backstretch, and that is exactly what he was able to do. After a sharp four furlongs in :46.45, Tapizar was absolutely cruising on the lead. No one in the field dared to go after him too soon. By the time the field had run three-quarters in 1:10.88, it was clear that the 11-10 chalk was going to be more than a handful.
As the field came out of the final turn, two other horses, Prayer For Relief and Balladry showed that they had come to run, and would not give up without a fight. But as quickly as the two menaced Tapizar straightening out, their offerings were swatted away with a swift and decisive turn of foot that ended any doubt to Santa Anita’s feature.
Cruising to the wire, Tapizar looked every bit like a horse ready to make a huge early statement in 2012 as one of the top horses in the country. The final margin was an easy 3 ½ lengths over longshot Balladry, who edged out second choice, Prayer For Relief by a nose for second. None of the others were close at the finish. Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was a snappy 1:41.94.
Tapizar, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, is a horse who was very highly regarded this time last year, and unfortunately was knocked out for much of the year due to an early injury. Today’s victory was his fourth in nine lifetime races, and marked only his third appearance since returning to the races. Last fall he came back for a sharp allowance score, before turning in a deceptively good 5th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
If today is any indication, the rest of the West Coast older males are going to have their hands full in the big races of the winter and the spring. Tapizar is back, and he is one talented horse.