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Breeders Cup 2015

Strong Diana Breeze for Tapitsfly


Grade 1 Longines Just a Game winner Tapitsfly turned in the second-quickest of 22 breezes at five furlongs over the Saratoga main track on Saturday, covering the distance in 1:01.41 as she completes final preparations for the Grade 1 Diana, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares on July 28.


“She looked good doing it,” said trainer Dale Romans said of the Frank L. Jones, Jr. homebred. “It made me think about running her back on the dirt, but we’ll wait.”


The front-running 5-year-old mare found herself on the lead in the Longines Just a Game through six furlongs in 1:09.48. She then rebuffed a late challenge from Winter Memories to prevail by 2 ¼ lengths and win the one-mile turf event in 1:32.34.


“I hope that she’ll relax as well as she did in the Just a Game,” said Romans. “Our plan for her this year was to get her to really relax and come from a little off the pace, and then we got to the Just a Game, a Grade 1, and there was no speed, so we threw that out the window. And I doubt there will be enough speed to run with her here, so she’ll probably do the same thing.”


Romans said Tapitsfly will have a new jockey in the Diana as Ramon Dominguez, who rode the mare in the Longines Just a Game, has made another commitment. The trainer added that Joel Rosario could end up with the mount.


On the worktab at Churchill Downs for Romans was Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap winner Shackleford, who will bypass the Grade 1 Whitney Invitational Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on August 4 to run in the seven-furlong, Grade 1 Forego on September 1. Shackleford went five furlongs in 1:01.40, breezing.


“[Kentucky-based assistant Baldemar Bahena] said Shackleford started off slow but finished up fast,” reported Romans.


In the Met Mile, Shackleford set the pace and held off Caleb’s Posse to win by a nose, with Romans revealing that Shackleford needed extra time to recuperate after the effort.


“He came out the Met Mile a little bit tired,” said Romans. “It took him a little longer to get back on his feet, and we were going to have to rush him to make the Whitney. This will work out well. We know his career is winding down. He’ll probably have three more starts, and we’re going to try to make them all count.”




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