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.”